PaTS staff fulfill critical reopening needs

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

As with every college campus, summer is always a busy time for staff making fall preparations, but this summer, planning has been especially challenging. While most employees are working at home to prepare for the fall semester, a group of PaTS staff are working out of a makeshift office in the old Cafeteria Activities Building (CAB). 

Doug Lape poses with a room full of disposable masks at the IMT Logistics Center.
Doug Lape poses with a room full of disposable masks at the IMT Logistics Center.

This temporary office and storage space was swiftly constructed in an unused portion of CAB to hold thousands of boxes of personal protective and safety equipment that will be integral to reopening campus. This space is designated “IMT Logistics Center” by a homemade sign printed and displayed next to the old CAB loading dock. 

The IMT Logistics Center was created in May when the Incident Management Team (IMT) called on Doug Lape, director of Parking and Transportation Services, and his team to secure supplies for summer operations. 

Soon after, with the number of regional COVID-19 cases continuing to increase, the pressing need to procure fall supplies to reopen campus safely became apparent. Supply shortages, especially the availability of masks and hand sanitizer, were a major concern. 

In order to provide enough lead time, Lape and his team began to solicit multiple cost proposals in early May for fall supplies. 

“As many of us have experienced in our personal lives, some of these supplies are extremely hard to procure. The same has been the case for the University, but we’ve been able to utilize our buying power, large quantity orders and local vendors and manufacturers for a number of supplies,” Lape said.

Bottles of hand sanitizer produced in partnership with two distilleries. The label was designed by Business Services Communications Manager Lou Ann Lamb.

One product, in particular, was especially difficult to find: hand sanitizer. 

To solve this problem, Doug and his team came up with an innovative solution. They would partner with local distilleries to make and supply hand sanitizer for campus. 

The idea to make hand sanitizer in partnership with local businesses came from Lape’s wife, who works at a dental office in Charlotte. When he heard that their office had received a shipment of sanitizer from a distillery, he started connecting with local businesses. 

“Three months later, we’ve been using two local distillers, Southern Distilling Company and Moon River Distillery, to meet our campus needs. These businesses have been excited to work with us and even let the University design our own custom logos for the bottles; a nice added touch,” he said. 

Overseeing the receiving and distribution of hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment required two PaTS employees to shift their focus from their primary job duties in parking enforcement and customer service, to managing the logistics center, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “other duties as assigned.”

Other PaTS employees have been involved in purchasing supplies, fitting locations on campus with protective sneeze guards and coordinating the installation of social distancing floor stickers.

Lape was also recently involved in launching an e-store for business officers to conveniently order social distancing signage for their areas through REPROS. Organizing signage ordering processes for departments will allow the University to have uniform messaging around safety protocols when students, faculty and staff return. 

 Kenan Foster, a parking enforcement officer, works at the center on weekdays to fulfill department requests for supplies.

Dannie Mirovich, a paratransit driver for PaTS, said he “jumped at the chance” to learn how to build and install sneeze guards so he could collect measurements for Facilities Management and track the progress of installations.  

Mirovich said that he is looking forward to seeing campus come back to life in the fall because he misses seeing “students who are here working toward a brighter future and his team members who make a difference.”

Lape echoed Mirovich’s gratitude for the PaTS staff members who have taken on extra responsibilities. “The only way I have been able to manage two sets of responsibilities is due to my amazing staff. I’m so proud of the PaTS team and how they’ve pitched in to get the job done. I couldn’t do this without them,” Lape said. 

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Note: There are many other staff members working hard to reopen campus safely. Doug Lape sends out a special thanks to: Alex Cabral, Michael Rogers, Rich Steele, the Emergency Management group, the Incident Management team, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management (especially the BES team, the renovations shop and staff involved in sneeze guard installation and signage efforts), UNCC Purchasing team and campus communicators. 

 

Story and Photography: Katie Turner