George Crawford is a building service supervisor in Housing. During Crawford’s 22-year career with the university, he has twice been nominated for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award. He has been in his current job for almost three years, where his responsibilities comprise training, chairing the safety committee and special projects.
Tell me about your job.
My duties really vary quite a bit. I train all of the building service personnel here in Housing — building service workers (BSWs), foremen or supervisors. I also conduct their initial training and orientation to the department plus a fair amount of hands–on training. I show them the equipment and the supplies and work with them to get them started.
I also set up the OSHA-required training each year with Environmental Health and Safety.
I head up the safety committee for the Housing facilities area. We address any safety concerns and review on-the-job accidents to see if further training is required or if there’s an unsafe condition that needs to be corrected. But the special projects portion of my position has taken over most of my focus.
What kind of special projects are you working on?
I’ve rewritten the job assignments for all of our BSWs. Right now, I’m on an implementation team for electronic time recording. We’re hoping to have it going within eight months.
I was also on the implementation team for the performance partnership program. It’s a disciplinary system that uses positive reinforcement and fosters adult-adult relationships between supervisors and employees. Another supervisor and I conducted the training for the housing foremen. The system has worked so well we’re hardly ever using the formal disciplinary steps. It’s since been adapted for food service personnel.
This summer I ran a pilot program at Sherman Hall for a new cleaning-product dispensing system, and we’re ready to implement that. That’s going to be a major focus of my duties – getting that in place and conducting the training along with the vendor. The unit will automatically dispense whatever product you’re using – bathroom cleaner, carpet cleaner – at the correct dilution rate. It’s very simple to use and employees won’t have to measure things out or do any guesswork like they do now.
My boss and I had talked about streamlining our supplies for years, and we talked about it more when I moved into this position three years ago. We decided we needed to do something to gain more control over how products are being mixed in order to save money and make sure the chemicals are being mixed properly.
How much are you expecting to save with this?
3M (the vendor) tells us we’ll save at least a third of our costs. I expect it will be higher than that, anywhere from 30 to 50 percent. It’s going to be a big safety enhancer too because the products will always be diluted appropriately.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Balancing all the projects that we’re working on. It seems like I just get close to finishing a project up and another one gets handed down. It’s really tough to prioritize sometimes and get everything accomplished.
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
Touching base with all the Housing people around campus. Being in Housing for so many years, I’ve met a lot of people and developed a lot of friendships.
What do you do in your spare time?
We have three children. Our youngest got his driving permit and our oldest turned 21 all in the same week a few weeks back. It was pretty tough on mom and dad! Our middle child is a freshman here at Illinois and he’s living in private housing instead of university housing. Just broke my heart!
My wife and I like to go antiquing. We also like to go boating at Lake Shelbyville and fishing. We bought a 150-year-old home in Tuscola and have done extensive remodeling. We added a fourth bedroom, attached the garage, added vinyl siding, removed the plaster walls in three rooms and put in drywall. We did everything but the foundation.
And after doing all these renovations you’re still married to each other?
Everybody says that but actually we work really well together and almost think alike.