PULLMAN, Wash.–Following an extensive self-study on improving the services of its Physical Plant and Facilities Development units, Washington State University is reorganizing aspects of the units’ operations.
At the heart of the changes is a plan to improve efficiency, reduce unnecessary planning and paperwork, and to empower staff where appropriate, said Sandra Vibber, executive assistant for administration and business affairs. Establishing standardized procedures for many different Physical Plant and Facilities Development services is one key to the increased efficiencies.
Joe Spoonemore, Physical Plant director since 1984, has accepted a new role as director of special projects for facilities management, effective July 1. In this capacity, he will take on the responsibilities for the “re-engineering” work needed to achieve the efficiencies proposed in the self-assessment.
At the same time, Craig Benjamin, currently the assistant director of Facilities Development, will become acting director of the WSU Physical Plant.
“Joe Spoonemore has the background, experience and education well suited to the development of the new initiatives,” Vibber said, noting that he has both a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master of business administration degree from WSU. He will continue to report to Vibber in his new capacity.
Spoonemore will establish alternative levels of design processes to reduce costs, develop standardized contract specifications, and design alternatives for commonly used construction elements. Standardization will eliminate the need for planning for certain routine projects, Vibber indicated, improving service to university departments.
Spoonemore joined the Physical Plant staff in 1974 and was appointed assistant director in 1980, becoming the director four years later.
Benjamin, who holds a chemical engineering degree from WSU, joined the staff in 1984 as associate facilities engineer. The next year he become energy manager for the university, and in 1993 was appointed assistant director of Facilities Development. His previous career experience was in refining with Chevron USA and pulp and paper mills with Crown Zellerbach.
A search for a new Physical Plant director is expected to begin sometime in the fall.

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