Eric Nichols became the new director of Facilities Services at Ithaca College on Nov. 2, taking on Lisa Belokur’s role, who held the position from 2007–15. Nichols and his team take care of maintenance, cleanliness and sustainability on campus. He has experience at Hartwick College and at PSP Unlimited.
Staff Writer Daniel Hart spoke with Nichols to discuss his new position as director of Facilities Services, his staff team and the future of the college’s campus.
Daniel Hart: You have experience working with Hartwick College’s athletic department and with the local business PSP Unlimited. How do you believe the combination of both collegiate and business administration experience will help you as a director at the college?
Eric Nichols: The past two organizations I worked with, I was the director of capacity. So managing personnel, assisting with team members, collective goals, all that fun stuff. The PSP side of it, the business side, brings me to the customer service end of this. It also allows me to manage the budget end of it as well. In facilities services, our goal is to provide clean, functional, safe facilities for the college. One of the things that we’re doing is working on service level agreements with all the individual departments.
DH: Could you talk about your personal goals for facilities services and for the college?
EN: My goals are to continue growing our team and to collaboratively work with constituents across the campus to create and develop the service level agreements so that we are identifying and ensuring the continued level of service that we provide.
DH: What do you envision the campus looking like in six months from now?
EN: We don’t have any major plans or updates. There’s some repairs going on to the infrastructure and to individual buildings, but the campus itself physically will remain the same. There are some projects tieing into the Master Plan. The Master Plan was adopted in May, so it’s kind of a blueprint for the college for its facilities growth and change over the next two decades.
DH: Do you know when the Master Plan will be done?
EN: I am not 100 percent sure. With all the stuff going on right now, the updates have kind of been put on hold, as you will. So anything moving forward has kind of been tabled, as far as I know, for initiatives.
DH: Could you discuss green initiatives for the college?
EN: We have transitioned to green cleaning products. I believe it was three years ago, in the notes that I have found, but I did my research in the past month and a half that I’ve been here, and we are about 90 percent green cleaning products. They are all certified, and we are still working towards making sure that any additional products we bring in or change will meet those same standards, because that’s obviously not only important to Ithaca College, but it’s important to the Ithaca community and to myself as well.
DH: What is the most exciting thing you have done in your job so far?
EN: That’s tough. I would have to say meeting with my team has been very rewarding and very exciting. We have about 105 staff. We deal with residential, all the academic buildings, and then we also have a facilities setup and furniture moving crew. That’s a huge part of why I was excited to join IC. Those people are dedicated, hard working and they have a true love for the college and want to provide those services for the students and faculty and staff, and it’s a pretty awesome experience.
DH: What are you most looking forward to?
EN: To continue with my staff. To get to know them, to work with them, to provide excellent service, to continue the level that we have and make sure that the campus community is aware of all the responsibilities that this team really takes place in, and how they’re an integral part of this institution.
DH: Is there anything else you would like to add?
EN: A big part of why I’m here is the team that is in place. I’ve been in the community for a long time, I knew some people that work here, and I started asking some questions and the reviews were all the same: that the facilities services team does a fantastic job. So that’s a big part of why I was excited to jump into this role.