On the Job: Commissions and Warranty Office Picks Up Steam

Posted: April 4, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

Paul Foley
Paul Foley
Photo by Ryann Doyle

During a time of heavy construction and expansion at Mason, Paul Foley, commission and warranty technician for Facilities Management, has his hands full.

The commissions and warranty function has been operating in some form for the past 15 years, but with Mason’s current construction boom, the office is steadily gaining momentum.

Foley, one of two technicians in the office, works with all aspects of the new building construction process, acting as the liaison between the contractors and Mason.

In the beginning phases of construction, Foley gives input and reviews design plans to help make maintenance easier once the building goes up. He monitors the building process all the way to the final phases of construction. At that point, he runs the building through all the bases, making sure the equipment in it is safe and operating properly. He fixes any kinks in the process.

“I coordinate the warranty repair process after the buildings go up: getting [the repair people] to the right site and in the buildings, getting them to do their job, making sure they do their job right and signing off once the job is completed,” explains Foley.

Another part of Foley’s job requires keeping track of manufacturers and extended warranties. When the air conditioning isn’t functioning properly, an elevator breaks, ceiling lights flicker, shelves fall off the wall or any other mechanical issue arises, Foley is responsible for making sure the equipment is still under warranty and that it gets fixed as soon as possible.

Before coming to Mason, Foley was trained in positions where he acquired multiple building skills in electrical work, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. After joining Mason in 1997, Foley worked in the plumbing shop for about a year, then transferred to HVAC where he worked for about five years before starting his current job in 2003.

He says this training prepared him for his current position because his work requires knowledge of various mechanical skills.

Foley says there is a lot to like about his job, but what he likes the most is that he has a very good supervisor, Mike Kelly, who gives him the leeway and responsibility to get things done.

“We have so much going on. We are tracking probably 20 buildings at one time, and he [Kelly] has his hands in all of it, so he cannot micromanage the other building commission and warranty technician and myself,” says Foley. “Coming out of the physical plant and into this job is like night and day. There is more self-managing and I get treated more like a professional, not like a worker bee.”

Foley also says he likes his job because he gets to interact with so many different kinds of people. He works with faculty, staff and students who have are having maintenance and mechanical problems, as well as contractors and workers in all the different departments of Facilities Management.

Communication and patience are essential in performing his job. He says communication skills are vital because he communicates with so many different people all in one day’s time, from the architect who designs the building, to the worker who turns the wrench, to the end user.

In addition to Foley and Kelly, there is only one other person in the office, Alan Jones, another building commission and warranty technician.

“We are a real small part of the whole process; the unseen side of things. Since I have been with this office for the last five years, construction has really taken off,” says Foley. “It’s like you’re still tying your shoes on the racetrack and everyone’s gone. It is really kind of chaotic at times when you try to track 20 buildings at once. It’s fun, but it can get overwhelming when you are trying to find all the details.”

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