July 17, 2019 – I had such a fun morning visit with the dedicated plant operations and maintenance department, more commonly known as POM.

Meeting members of this talented crew

This 40-person team maintains the physical environment of the Hospital. If something needs fixing, this is the team that gets it done. Responsibilities include electrical services, HVAC, plumbing, power plant operation, fire and life safety, and general maintenance of buildings and grounds.

We started our visit by going around the room, meeting team members and hearing some of the interesting facts about POM. This crew enjoys their jobs, and has the longevity to show it. A number of staff have been working at Rady Children’s for more than 20 years, and one POM employee has been with the organization for 35 years! POM Director Brian Cunningham commented that “everybody here does an excellent job. They are always thinking ‘safety first’ and doing what is best for the children.”

Some of the facts and figures I learned include the following:

• POM handles between 1,500 and 2,000 work orders every month — that’s 18,000 per year
• Rady Children’s has its own power plant that produces 90 percent of campus power
• The oldest building on campus is the Nelson/Hahn Pavilion, which was built in 1954
• Rady Children’s accent paint colors are Sherwin-Williams Teal Green, Lagoon Green and Leisure Blue
• The total building square footage on our main campus (including parking structures, the Health Services building and the Autism Discovery Institute) is 1,763,792 square feet

This team also maintains the pneumatic tube system that runs throughout the Hospital. The system allows users to place small objects in a cylinder (such as medication, samples, paperwork, etc.) and send them through a vacuum tube to one

Sporting my new tool belt and hat

of 23 stations on campus.

In addition to serving breakfast, the team presented me with my own tool belt and tools. Now I’m ready to perform some simple maintenance tasks around the Hospital!

In all seriousness, this team is very important to the success of our organization. Simply put, we can’t take care of kids properly if the place is falling apart. There are risks of injury and infection if our facilities are not maintained at a high level, and the work this team does behind the scenes allows our care providers to work in an environment that encourages healing. It also enhances the experience for families who have access to beautiful gardens and grounds and expertly maintained facilities.

I could have hung out with this spirited team all day. They always seem to have smiles on their faces. Thanks for the warm welcome, and I’ll see you around campus.

The team signing my passport — the first group to have this idea!