Urbana native Ted Burgin, an electrician in the Facilities and Services Division, has been at the university for 10 years, and was honored with a Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award in April 2007. After about three years working in the construction services unit, Burgin transferred to the systems and controls crew, where he has worked ever since. Before joining the university’s staff, he worked for Potter Electric at Kraft Foods for about 1 1/2 years. He has been in the electrical trade since 1984.
Tell me about your job.
(My cousin) Tom Burgin and I maintain all the handicapped electronic door operators and the card-access system on campus. We have worked together for about 2 1/2 years. Our first priority is to answer service calls on doors. We’ve also been helping out with direct digital control work for the chilled water meters and condensate meters that are being installed around campus.
Is the card-access system a security measure or something else?
The card-access system is to help eliminate problems with people losing keys. We probably have it on 400 to 500 doors across campus. We also have a programmer, Lowell Lamb, at F&S, who programs everyone’s cards in, and sets up the building’s schedules so the software sends out a signal that allows the doors to unlock at the right time.
We can tailor the system to an individual’s needs. For example, if a person has trouble using their hands, we can set it up so they just hold up their cards, and the module reads it and unlocks and opens the door.
All of the new buildings going up are at least partially card-access when they’re built, and then we’ll go in and add to it. The Siebel Center is entirely card access.
We work hand-in-hand with the locksmith shop. If it’s the door operator, we fix it, but if it’s something in the locking mechanism, they fix it.
What kinds of problems do you have with the doors and the card-access system?
We have had an intermittent problem with an elevator in the Police Training Institute where the card-access system wouldn’t unlock the elevator to allow people to ride up to the second floor. We eventually found that a component in the card-access system was failing.
You can’t fix it until you know what’s failing, so you just try to put some mechanisms in there to catch it when it does fail so you can diagnose the problem. On the card-access system the biggest challenge is getting the raceways (for the wiring) in the ceilings to the places you need them to go in the buildings.
On a recent Monday, we had 20 calls because of the wind making the (automated) doors stand open or because doors wouldn’t open. In winter, 75 percent of the calls are about doors standing open or not working because someone shut them off. Or the outside push button may be frozen, so we swap the inside and outside push buttons so the frozen one can thaw out indoors. A couple of times we’ve had problems with doors standing open because snow was thrown up against the buttons by people shoveling or using snow blowers.
What’s the best part of your job?
I like it all. I like the work. I’ve got a good group of guys to work with, a good boss, the programmer’s an excellent guy. Any problem I encounter that I can’t fix, I can make a phone call to one shop or another and have the right people there with me to get it to work.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I have been married for 13 1/2 years and have two kids: a daughter, Alexis, who’s 10, and a son, Spencer, who’s 6. They keep me busy from the time I get home until they go to bed. I helped coach my daughter’s fifth-grade basketball team this year, and I coached my son’s T-ball team. My daughter’s in dance, and my son’s in Tae Kwon Do, so there’s a lot of running around.
And I like to bowl. I bowl in the Monday night Merchant’s League at Arrowhead Lanes. For about the last six years, I’ve been into the local tournaments pretty heavy. Our team finished second in the county team event this year. I won the “all events” portion of it. I bowl in the Hoinke Classic tournament in Cincinnati with a group of guys every now and then. And we’re going to the United States Bowling Congress championship next year in Las Vegas.
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