Chancellor honors Simmonds for exceptional service

Thomas R. SimmondsThomas R. Simmonds, director of facilities design and construction at SUNY Oswego, has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

“Tom is a leader, an innovator and a consummate professional,” President Deborah F. Stanley said. “His leadership has been the face of major facilities renovation initiatives on our campus for seven years and is primarily responsible for our success.”

Simmonds first came to Oswego as an undergraduate in 1979 to study industrial arts education and stayed for a master’s degree and, then, to build his career at the college. His first full-time job was supervising the campus furniture shop. Within three years, he received the Campus Environment Award.

While still a graduate student, he was offered a new leadership opportunity: to create and coordinate a new facilities maintenance operation for the residence halls as assistant director of housing for facilities. He oversaw the furniture shop, custodial operations and maintenance trades for an 11-building, 4,000-bed residential community.

In this role, he demonstrated “his ability to direct a complex organization, engage in strategic planning and manage a multimillion dollar budget,” according to Chuck Weeks, director of residence life at SUNY Oswego.

Simmonds oversaw the first major renovation project at Oswego, the $8 million overhaul of a nine-story residence hall into the Hart Hall Global Living and Learning Center.

In his current position, “he has, in every facet of his performance, exemplified the superb leadership, technical expertise, and personal skill that define excellence in the development and delivery of capital projects,” wrote Associate Vice President for Facilities Jerry DeSantis, who nominated Simmonds for the award.

Among the major renovation and construction projects to which Simmonds has been a key contributor are the renovations of Johnson and Riggs residence halls, Lakeside Dining Hall, Rich, Poucher and Swetman halls and the west wing of historic Sheldon Hall; and the construction of the $25.5 million Campus Center.

“An example of the type of leaderships exhibited by Mr. Simmonds is the unqualified respect he has achieved among contractors, consultants, state authorities and the community,” DeSantis said. “Throughout a more than $150 million capital program, Mr. Simmonds has managed, without exception, to build and maintain a team atmosphere where all parties are committed to the quality of their work and the success of their project.”

Colleagues also cited him as a valuable contributor to the efforts of the campus development office and an adjunct faculty member in the technology department. “He is simply a ‘go to’ colleague who always gets things done,” said Kerry Dorsey, vice president for development and alumni relations.

Locally, he is a head coach for two Oswego Minor Hockey Association youth teams and a volunteer building project consultant for the association’s rink expansion project. He has also served as a coach and volunteer with the Oswego Youth Soccer Association and contributed his planning and construction expertise as a volunteer for a church.

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(Posted: May 02, 2007)