SHREVEPORT, LA -- Ray Hill has worked in the Maintenance Department for Shreveport Parks and Recreation for more than 19 years. When he took over as the Building Maintenance Division Manager last year, he knew it was meaningful but anonymous work.
“The only people who think of maintenance every day is Maintenance… until there is an issue,” Hill said.
So Hill decided to change that. He recently hosted an event to celebrate his staff and the 3,155 work orders they completed from June 2017 to June 2018.
The SPAR Maintenance Department covers all public entities. The performance maintenance for all of the city’s parks and swimming pools, as well as Government Plaza, fire and police department buildings, municipal courts and more.
“If something needs to be done in a public building, we’re pretty much the entity that takes care of it,” Hill said. “In the course of a year, there is a multitude of things we do, It’s carpentry work; it’s redesign of parks to make them better, more efficient as well as practical. We do every light bulb you see in a public building. We do HVAC, refrigeration, locks on doors -- whatever is required of us.”
SPAR also supports many outdoor events, such as Jazz in the Park and Movies and Moonbeams. Maintenance employees set up electricity, plumbing and other services for those events. “We are a very active bunch,” Hill said.
When Hill took over as Division Manager, he decided to expand the Maintenance Division’s existing awards ceremony to further show support for his team. He even created his own new category – the James Brown Award.
“I grew up with my parents and grandparents listening to James Brown,” Hill said. “He was known as the hardest working man in show business. I decided we were going to do an award like that. The person or team who, no matter what, doesn’t stop and just keeps on going.”
The plumbing section won the James Brown Award, with 709 work orders completed for the year among three team members and one Certified Maintenance Technician.
Hill was pleased to see the plumbing section win the award because he had made improving it one of his top priorities in his first year as Division Manager. “I had no idea we would come this far,” he said. “I was astonished myself”.
DeShayne Hall, Hill’s executive assistant, was the department’s Employee of the Year. Hill said she took it upon herself to learn everything she could about the entire Maintenance Department and how each section operates. “She wanted to know what made the engine run,” he said.
Lonnie Walton was named the top Call-Out Maintenance Employee. Call-out employees respond to maintenance calls after hours. They typically are more experienced staff members and are expected to handle situations in a very independent manner, with little or no supervision. “The call-out person lets me sleep a good sleep,” Hill said. Lonnie’s workload stood out for the volume of work and how seamlessly it was handled, Hill said.
Floyd Campbell was named the most improved Certified Maintenance Technician. He came up with a plan to install steel rails along the fences at city parks to prevent cars from driving through the parks, a common problem that has cost the department money and man hours through the years, Hill said. “Are they bringing us info to make that even better? Is there something out there in operations that is going to save us a dollar? That’s their job,” Hill said.
Other award recipients include:
Most Improved Maintenance Tech: Mike Luraschi
Most Innovative: Tom Johnson
Biggest Transition: Leroy Miller
Most Dedicated: Mark Chambers
Perfect Attendance: Brice Rougley, Mark Chambers, Lonnie Walton and Leroy Miller
Shop Leaders: Leroy Miller and Floyd Campbell
Hill said he plans to expand the award categories next year. One new award will be for self-advancement, recognizing employees who excel at learning and applying new skills and technology to their work.
“We were stuck,” he said. “The problem is you have to get guys to advance – management or personnel. We always have to look for the latest thing. We have to train ourselves better so we can bring it to the crews. This award will recognize those who take the initiative to better themselves.”
Hill is proud of the Building Maintenance Division’s accomplishments in the past year. He expects even more from them by the end of the current year.
I have it made because of the staff that I have,” Hill said. “My job is to guide. Everybody has room for improvement. It just shows the dedication my staff has. It’s all them. They are buying in. I am going to let them run with it.”