Shop Spotlight: Plumbers

Pipes surround us!

Inside the hundreds of buildings and acres of land encompassing the Urbana campus, F&S plumbers have a lot of responsibilities to keep liquid moving. They are in charge of all fixtures you’d regularly find in any building, including faucets, toilets, urinals, sinks, drinking fountains, sanitary and storm pump systems, and hot water heat exchangers. The plumbers also repair, maintain, and install more complicated systems like deionized water and reverse osmosis water systems, safety shower and eyewash equipment, and whole-building hot water mixing valves, along with domestic hot water heating systems.

3 questions with Terry Bagwell, plumbing shop foreperson

Joe Rudicil

You’re a new foreperson, but have been with F&S for more than 15 years. How important is experience in plumbing and/or any crafts and trades?

As with all the crafts and trades here, experience is very important. We rely heavily on every one of our plumbers and have confidence we have the knowledge to repair anything that is assigned to us. That makes being a supervisor in the plumbing shop a lot easier.

What’s a typical type of project for your team?

Due to the number of older facilities on campus, pipes are in need of constant repairs. But, we’re not just talking about clogged toilets and dripping faucets; we have labs that have glass waste pipes and deionized water lines made of aluminum and other complicated plumbing systems. We also have a lot of storm and waste water pumps that need repairs. We also don’t just repair things, we also have crews that remodel bathrooms and labs; recent examples include Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and Veterinary Medicine. With buildings of all ages spread across a large campus, the ‘atypical’ job here has become commonplace.

What’s your favorite part about working for F&S?

Sometimes working in older, more unique buildings can be a challenge. That’s what makes it so rewarding because we get to maintain systems that have been replaced elsewhere in the industry. Since we do maintain them, they are still in good working order, and that’s a source of pride for our shop and all of F&S.