Western Michigan University (WMU) opened its doors over 100 years ago. Today, its facilities house about 24,000 students from all over the world who are all there to pursue greater knowledge. For Steven Gilsdorf, Director of Building Custodial and Support Services, removing unwanted matter – dirt, particulate, and allergens – from university facilities is key to fostering learning.
“The key is removing matter”
“We are cleaning for health and safety, not just appearance,” said Gilsdorf. “The key to that is removing matter.”
In order to become removers of unwanted matter, Gilsdorf and his team implemented a customized version of Team Cleaning they call Process Cleaning. Like a Team Cleaning program, Western Michigan custodial uses specialists who take on fewer tasks with state-of-the-art equipment to improve efficiency and clean to a higher standard. A typical Team Cleaning program has four specialists; WMU added three more specialists to fit the specific needs of their facilities.
At WMU, the standard restroom specialist, vacuum specialist, light duty specialist, and utility specialist work in tandem with a light bulb specialist, a project specialist, and a refresher specialist. The project specialist is an expansion of the utility position but takes on more specific tasks and equipment, like window washing on a lift. The refresher specialist is a hybrid of the light duty specialist but for as-needed cleaning later in the day. This specialist “refreshes” restrooms and common areas, empties trash, and addresses spills.
“Overall, we have seen cleaner buildings, because our method of cleaning removes more,” said Gilsdorf. “We maintain an APPA level of a high two, and we do not see the levels of illness and absenteeism that other schools and universities near us have had.”
In the last two years, Gilsdorf also expanded the use of ProTeam backpack vacuums to all departments of the school. With an advanced filtration system, the Super Coach Pro model backpack captures microscopic dust and pollutants, helping to further the goal of removing unwanted matter.
“Before ProTeam backpack vacuums, we were dusting lobbies and common areas daily,” said Gilsdorf. “The backpack vacuums made a huge difference. The environmental quality is so much better. We are now dusting those areas once a week.”
Learn more about Team Cleaning by watching this story.