Plant Operations: Gary Taylor, Associate Director

Plant Operations is responsible for the Physical Plant assets and Building Systems at the University of Michigan – Dearborn.  Plant Operations installs, maintains, operates, and repairs Physical Plant assets.  These assets include underground utilities such as water, sewer, natural gas, steam, and electricity.  In addition, Plant Operations maintains, operates, and repairs Building Systems which include building heating and cooling systems, building plumbing and sewer systems, and building hot water systems.   Plant Operations ensures elevators, fire detection systems, and fire pump systems are properly maintained.  

Boiler Operations

Boilers are maintained by Facilities Operations

Plant Operations employs five (5) licensed Boiler and Refrigeration Operators.  They are responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the campus Central Steam Heating Plant which serves 12 buildings supplying steam for heating and domestic hot water. 

The Senior Boiler Operator is responsible for coordinating all work schedules, ensuring proper distribution of work among the operators, coordinates annual State of Michigan internal boiler inspections, and coordinates and monitors chemical treatment of boiler water. 

Boiler Operators on a daily basis inspect 100% of campus mechanical rooms and log operating conditions and note problems alerting other trades to equipment problems.  Boiler Operators respond to HVAC computerized control system alarms and perform equipment scheduling.  Boiler Operators perform annual boiler overhauls and maintain detailed operating logs for the central plant.  After hours Boiler Operators are first responders to everything from power problems to leaks to fire alarms.  They also take monthly meter readings for electrical, natural gas, condensate return, etc.

Skilled Trades: Jerry Van Couwenberghe, Manager, Plant Operations

The Manager of Plant Operations maintains a current list of all equipment on campus that requires regular and periodic maintenance.  

The following shops are part of Plant Operations, Skilled Trades:

Electrical Shop

The Science Learning and Research Center (SLRC) at night.

The campus electricians operate and maintain building fire alarm systems, lab gas detection systems, on site permanent and portable electrical generators, and exterior and interior lighting systems.  Campus electricians also operate and maintain building electrical substations, switchgear, power panels, electrical outlets, wiring, and light switches.  In addition, the electricians maintain the campus high voltage electrical distribution system, campus security systems, and assist all trades with electrical troubleshooting, maintenance, repair, and installation of electrical consuming equipment.

Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning Shop (“HVAC”)

HVAC Systems are maintained by Facilities Operations.

This shop consists of four (4) specialists who operate, maintain, and repair the following:

  • Rooftop heating and cooling units of all types
  • Building air distributions systems
  • Large and small chilled water cooling and pumping systems
  • Small air conditioning systems
  • Critical air conditioning systems
  • Refrigerant recovery, replacement, and monitoring
  • Compressed air systems
  • Controlled environment chambers
  • Ice Arena ice production equipment
  • Building electrical, pneumatic and digital control systems
  • Cooling tower start up, shut down and maintenance
  • Humidification and dehumidification systems
  • Walk in coolers and freezers

Plumbing and Steamfitting Shop

Plumbing is maintained by Facilities Operations.

The Plumbing and Steamfitting Shop installs, repairs, and maintains hot and cold water piping systems, high purity water systems, natural and lab gas systems, water conditioning, steam piping, hot and cold water pumping systems, and pipe system filters.  The campus Plumbing Shop installs and repairs all types of sewer piping, including cast iron, glass, acid resistant, PVC and CPVC, etc.  The Plumbing Shop also maintains, installs, and repairs fixtures, water closets, sinks, faucets, water coolers, back flow prevention devices, underground sewer systems, sewage pumping stations, and assists all trades when needed.  The campus Steamfitting Shop maintains and repairs steam distribution piping, including condensate pumps and traps.  The Steamfitter Shop also repairs and maintains hot water heating distribution piping, valves, strainers, pumps, seals, gaskets, flanges, and hot water heating converters.