No two days alike for Cindy DeWolf in maintenance-operations office 

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Cindy DeWolf, secretary in Facilities Maintenance and Operations, who relishes the challenge every day of helping meet requests for help with the college’s buildings and grounds.

Q. Where were you born and raised?
A. I was born in Auburn and grew up in Sterling. I went to Hannibal schools. I live in Hannibal.

Q. When and why did you start at SUNY Oswego?
A. I’ve been here eight years. I got laid off at the nuclear plant, Nine Mile (Point). Anyone with less than 10 years was let go; I had 8 1/2 years. I thought, “That’s fine, it just means another challenge. Not a big deal.” I knew some other people from Nine Mile who came to work here, and they thought it was a good place to work. I like it here! There’s a lot of nice people. There’s a lot to learn. You learn to respect other people’s jobs and what they do.

Q. What are your main duties?
A. I oversee two staff, office assistant keyboarding 1 and 2 employees. We also have four students who work in our office. We couldn’t do it without them. I work a lot with the budget and the MCM (major critical maintenance) money. I report to Mary DePentu. She’s a really good boss. She’s a good listener. She’s fair. We have custodial and we have all the trades: plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), electricians, central heating plant, grounds, building trades construction, building trades finishes and furniture shop. Our office works a lot with the fleet garage and the Mahar stockroom, as well.

Q. You must handle some urgent situations.
A. We have a two-way radio. We call out to the supervisors for emergencies—somebody trapped in an elevator, there’s a leak somewhere, toilet overflowing, students locked out of their room. … Now we have the iService request—we don’t have paper anymore, so that’s been a tremendous help for us. We’ve come a long way in the past few years with our work order system. I do requisitions—I work with the stockroom on some of them. We have weekly residence hall building inspections of the common areas. Also, right after graduation, we have building inspections of all the student rooms and we create all the summer work orders from that inspection—that’s a very big project for us.

Q. What do you like most about the job?
A. Things change every day. You don’t know when you come in if there’s going to be a leak somewhere, a power outage. You have to be able to adjust to that. You have to be ready and know what to do. … I think we’re all just one big team that has to work well together. We all have to make sure we’re on the same page and say the same things to our customers, be consistent. Over the past three years, we created our own clerical manual. There’s just so much to learn. We’ve written quite a few procedures. (For example) when there’s an emergency, we have specific things we have to say over the radio, like clear the channel— have them all use a different channel so we can keep that one open for communications until the emergency is done.

Q. A lot of jobs in your department seem unsung. Do you have examples?
A. Our custodians don’t just clean; they do setups and teardowns, they do conferences, they take care of guest rooms and do linens and shovel snow. Our custodial department does a lot. They’re the first point of contact with a lot of people, including students. When we have a lot of snow, we may have to call in people who are not in the grounds department. When we have big emergencies, people stay as long as it takes. We’ve been fortunate that people will step up and help out, work as a team.

Q. What do you think of your student workers?
A. Our students are very good workers; we’ve been very lucky. They learn quickly and they’re very good. If we get them as a freshman, they’ll stay till they graduate. I tell them when they leave, they have to find me a replacement that’s just as good if not better than them. (Laughs.) We don’t just have them make copies or do time cards. We make them feel that they’re part of our team. They answer the phones, they create work orders, they have to follow all our rules. I think it helps with their resume, their confidence for when they go out in the real world, their public relations. It brings young life to us. We get to hear what’s going on on campus and what they are doing, their ambitions. We learn new slang and terminology. (Laughs.)

Q. Didn’t SEFA name you 2016 Building Representative of the Year?
A. Yes, thank you. I like participating in all those events. SEFA has a lot of events: the mum sale, the hockey night with the Lakers skating with the kids, bake sales, Baskets of Caring. If a fundraiser needs a building representative, I always volunteer. They have the Toy Drive and the American Heart Association and the breast cancer fundraiser.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
A. My husband, Andrew, works at Anheuser-Busch. We’ve been married 37 years. I have a son and two daughters. My son, Andrew, works here, too. He’s in building trades finishes. He is married and has a son, Logan. My youngest, Cailee, is in nursing school. My other daughter, Jenna, works in Auburn. She’s married and due to have her first child in 5 weeks—our first granddaughter! We’re very family oriented; our family is very close.

Q. What do you like to do in your off hours?
A. We have a boat. It’s a 27-foot Chaparral docked at Fair Point Marina in Fair Haven. I like to cook and bake, crochet and sew. I can’t say I’m a professional at any of them, but I try my best. Dessert? How about chocolate lava cake? That’s easy, but I also make an apple cake with walnuts, cream cheese frosting and caramel. That’s really good. I’m always bringing in food to share with staff and students. I like Syracuse (University) sports—basketball and football. I’ve got an Apple iPad Mini so I can Facetime with my grandson. He just turned 2. They don’t live far away, but still you don’t see them every day, so it’s a fun way to keep in touch.