Facilities crews work round the clock

Current District residents may call the two back-to-back storms that hit this week “Snowmageddon,” but Hector Montout has endured worse in his 28 years in D.C.

Montout, a GW facilities management employee, said he once slept nine consecutive nights at GW Hospital because of snow. While normally an electrician at GW, Montout has spent his post-snowstorm shifts shoveling out the Foggy Bottom campus.

“Today I plan on shoveling snow all day,” he said.

He has yet to work overtime, but said scheduling has been an issue this week. He said his boss forgot to call him Tuesday to say classes were canceled, so Montout was on campus before 9 a.m.

“They did not call me or anything,” he said. “It’s no big deal, I don’t mind.”

The snow has made many employees abandon their normal duties of repairing electrical problems or doing carpentry work and, instead, shovel out snowed-in students.

Facility worker James Grisson said he has been sleeping at GW for nine days, working 12-hour shifts to shovel out the campus. GW provided him and his fellow workers with cots in the Marvin Center and three meals a day. Normally, he works in the Marvin Center “cleaning and buffing” but has been outside since the snow started last week.

While he said his wife misses him, Grisson said she will be happy next Friday, which is GW’s payday.

“She will be happy to have me home but she will be happier next Friday,” he said. “It’s payday.”

Grisson said students have been very appreciative of the work he and his fellow employees have been doing.

“Students have come out and said thank you, telling us we’ve been doing a great job,” he said.

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia O’Neil said in an e-mail that at any time since Friday, up to 100 GW operations employees have been on campus clearing sidewalks and ramps and doing other snow-related duties.

“Like most entities in the DC Metropolitan Area, the University has been required to conduct more snow related maintenance work this year than in past years,” O’Neil said. “The amount of overtime varies by individual as does the tasks completed during this unique situation.”

University President Steven Knapp sent an Infomail Tuesday thanking GW’s facilities workers, noting their dedication through the weekend. In an e-mail to The Hatchet Wednesday afternoon, he echoed that sentiment.

“I was glad to have the opportunity on our Charter Day to thank the employees who have worked so hard on behalf of all of us through these storms! I have seen them working all across campus, and they’ve been at it around the clock,” he said. “And their work won’t be done when the storms are over, given the enormous quantity of snow and the tree damage. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

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