PSFEI Summer Interns Impress Kutztown University Client
by Paul Meister, P.E.
Student interns from the Penn State College of Engineering, working for the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute, received accolades for their work at Kutztown University (KU) in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Bret Bartlett, senior, mechanical engineering, and Greg Them, junior, architectural engineering, performed condition assessments of thirty-nine KU campus buildings during the summer of 2013.
After being trained by PSFEI on technical building systems, Greg and Bret moved to the KU campus and were trained to use facilities condition assessment (FCA) software. The FCA software database allows KU managers to sort and prioritize facilities work for planning, maintenance, repair, or replacement. After establishing a work timeline to ensure project completion, the two interns worked with university operations and maintenance directors and tradesman every day. The interns surveyed and ranked the condition of HVAC systems, MEP systems, roof and building envelopes, site environments, fire and safety systems, and interiors. Findings were input into the software database and replacement costs were developed using RS Means cost estimating data.
Kyle Mills, the director of facilities maintenance at Kutztown University, was very pleased with the work, saying, “(Bret and Greg) did an incredible job. They established a building assessment timeline, which they met, updated all building assessment data in (the FCA software), including accurate replacement costs and developed a guideline for any future engineering students to follow. The outcome of this program far exceeded our expectations. Due to the success of this summer program I am currently evaluating other areas where this type of program could be beneficial and educational for all involved.”
Greg and Bret were energized by the hands-on education, with Bret stating “We used critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a professional environment at Kutztown University. We developed strong communication, organization, and project management skills while aiding the University’s facilities department in their long term project endeavors.”
About the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute
The Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute (PSFEI) regularly hires Penn State engineering student interns for facilities and energy management work. PSFEI provides facility engineering services to eleven state agencies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government’s General Services Administration. PSFEI’s broad array of facilities services includes training facility operators and managers, conducting facilities assessments, troubleshooting problems, and developing solutions and strategies for facility owners. PSFEI has specific expertise in energy efficiency and sustainability, energy markets, building infrastructure, and facilities information management. Founded in 1947 at the request of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Institute is part of the College of Engineering at Penn State University Park and touches the lives of thousands of people in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania and across our nation.
Paul Meister, P.E., is an energy engineer at the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute, specializing in energy management with emphasis in natural gas utility issues, energy commodity procurement, and economic/technical analyses of fuel conversion projects. In his role as supervisor to student interns, he is involved in hiring, mentoring, and assigning projects that serve the mission of the Institute. Paul has a B.S. in mineral economics from Penn State, a M.S. in petroleum engineering from Montana Tech/University of Montana, and a M.Eng. in environmental engineering from Penn State.