PPS Profile: Gardner sets ground rules

by Anna Nayfa

Staff Writer

The image of white vans with the purple Sewanee logo are spread all throughout campus, but what exactly do these mysterious vans do? In fact, it is not much of a mystery at all; the vans are simply the Physical Plant Services, better known as the PPS. This staff of 95 workers is in charge of a range of jobs, including but not limited to: maintenance, custodial work, grounds, event support, and construction. A large chunk of these workers are custodial services. To sum it up, they are the ones that keep the campus running and looking as beautiful as it does every day. On Dec. 1, 2013, PPS welcomed new head director Michael Gardner. Gardner received his civil engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin, and went on to earn his MBA at Texas Tech University. After his schooling, he found his passion for management in higher education facilities. He worked at Lake Forest College and Butler University, and tried energy services before applying to Sewanee and becoming the director.

Although Gardner has a busy job, he always finds time for hiking the miles of Sewanee trails. He has found a few spots on the Morgan Steep’s trail that he really enjoys, and hopes to discover more. Eventually he aims to expand his adventure worldwide and hit his bucket list destinations “AAA:” Australia, Alaska, and Africa. Gardner believes his workers to be dedicated, hardworking and prompt. “They all contain such a wide range of personalities. This broad definition of folks are vast and dedicated to Sewanee. Many were born and raised here. These 95 people get a lot done. They are prompt and working hard to respond to what we have to do,” Gardner said. PPS has many future plans including building a new dorm to be ready by the fall of 2016, a University Commons building, improvements to the School of Theology, and a new roundabout downtown. The PPS will hold a design competition during the construction plans for the commons building, in order to include the community in the project. In the meantime, PPS will be working hard to follow their mission of “providing an attractive, clean, and safe living, learning, and teaching environment.”