Costen Aytes gets
it, but now it is time to leave. A good gardener knows when to nurture and
nourish the seeds he has planted with water, fertilizer, and even a little TLC.
He also knows when to walk away and just let the seeds he has sewn, grow and
thrive. Yes, by trade, Costen is a gardener and in charge of the maintenance
crew at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. For now. He is leaving
that all behind to pursue his dream of being a life coach, to inspire others
and help them grow. I traveled to Naropa University this past August to work
with them on implementing their SchoolDude products and share best practices
with them. Naropa’s main campus is literally nestled in a nook of Boulder that
is otherwise surrounded by Colorado University and has been there since the
What is it? Do you have it? Do you know what it is? It is
the “It Factor” or intangibles. When
you see it, it inspires you and makes you want to spread the word. The Campus Champion is the embodiment of the "It Factor," as strong and
reassuring as someone who goes above and beyond to make sure their facilities
are well cared for and maintained, their staff is used to the best of their
abilities, and they understand the importance of measuring all of this. Costen
Aytes has the “It Factor,” he gets it.
The old saying goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t
measure.” Now, Big Data backs up all
these items. We can verify through Key
Performance Indicators that we are taking less time to do more work orders
without sacrificing quality. We do have a preventive maintenance plan in place
to proactively fix things before they break. We do harness technology to
understand where our inventory is and how much we have. Costs are down,
reactive work is down, morale is up. That is progressive thinking at a
progressive place of learning that embraces Kerouac, Ginsburg, Trungpa. It all makes sense. Costen understands
all of this and has been sharing this with his team that works alongside him.
They believe in what they are doing and they get it too. But there is more to
it than just numbers, it’s the intangibles. We talk about it with athletes,
musicians, actors, and others. In the world of running facilities, it is understanding
the importance of it all, of leaving this place better than when you found it.
It’s looking into someone’s eyes and showing them that they matter, what they
are doing matters. It’s passion for excellence and not going through the
motions, that you have a stake in the all that matters. It’s leaving a legacy
for others to follow. A building that should only last 5 years has lasted 50.
It can be found 800 miles from Boulder, in the Dallas suburb
of Coppell, TX in an industrial
office park. The small town consumed by growth; roads, homes, and businesses
encroaching on a formerly rural area now bustling with new everything, part of
the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. At
Coppell ISD, Merry Blevins gets cost recovery and has been a champion
for it for a long time, and now it is time for her to move on. It is the right
time. She has built a legacy at Coppell far beyond dollars and cents put back
into the district. She is a Campus
Champion along with her staff. Since starting at SchoolDude, I have watched
all of this unfold. Merry has worked with many other districts to make sure
they know how to optimize their use of FSDirect
and make it successful for them. She taught classes at SchoolDude University, conferences,
participated and led Event Management
User Groups, and now Coppell ISD just hosted the most recent SchoolDude Campus Champions tour.
That’s because they are exception, not the rule. They are measured in success. The
overwhelming majority of their invoices are paid, more than one third of their
requests come from the MySchoolBuilding
page, and they are recovering twice the national average for $ invoiced per
student per year at around $30.00.
They are efficient, saving time, money and resources along the way. Coppell is
recovering costs for hosting events instead of losing money in using personnel,
utilities, and other operating costs. This
is the evidence that they are making a difference, led by Merry Blevins, now passing
the torch to others who will continue her legacy. Louis Macias and Odalis Ortiz
will see to that.
In Boulder, Naropa is exhibiting the signs of a Campus
Champion. Costen Aytes, Aaron Cook,
and their team are putting in the work, together. The ideals that Aaron trusted
Costen with are filtering through to everyone who is responsible for
maintaining Naropa’s campuses. It was evident from the first time I met with
them during my time there, they just get it. They are in great shape and the
vibe is a good one all around. Almost 75%
of their work orders are coming from the MySchoolBuilding page. The same can be
said for what they are completing in a week’s time. Their work orders
consistently have Labor Hours and Crafts on them, the staples of good
work order management. They are doing it and will continue to do it. The seed
Costen planted will grow to include more preventive maintenance and inventory
management. It will blossom and be as strong as the proud sycamores that are
the heart of their campus.
The challenge is there. What legacy will you leave when it
is your time to move on to the next part of life. Will you leave your
educational organization better off than when the responsibility was handed
over to you? Will you be able to measure what you are managing? Do you and your
staff have the intangibles, that “It Factor” that makes the difference between
doing the minimum and going above and beyond to ensure that your students,
faculty, and staff have the best possible place to teach, to learn, and to
thrive? Ask yourself and then see where you stand. Are you good at what you do
or great at what you do? Go look at your Key
Performance Indicators in the SchoolDude
Community. What do they tell you? Measure yourself and your team and then,
go make it happen. Get on the road to being the Campus Champion and plant the
seed, cultivate it, and watch it grow just like Costen and Merry did. Achieve. Lead. Succeed.
is a Senior Client Success Advocate on the SchoolDude Success Operations team.
Paul provides world-class support and works closely with our clients to ensure
their success, anticipate challenges our clients face, and deliver practical
solutions to overcome them.