Thunderbird residence, where the Facilities and Building Services office is located.

Ricky Biring is the Facilities Coordinator for SHCS Facilities and Building Services, one of our support departments that employs trades, service, warehouse, housekeeping, administrative staff, and more. This exceptional team keeps the spaces SHCS oversees clean, safe, functional, and up-to-date, among many other great things, like supporting the development of new residences, child care spaces and food outlets.

Ricky Biring in mask

Ricky Biring, Facilities Coordinator, trying out his new mask.

Could you tell me a bit about your role with Facilities and Building Services?

I provide support to the various departments in SHCS, along with campus-wide stakeholders. My role involves assessing and implementing opportunities for operational efficiencies, sustainability initiatives, interior refresh and upkeep projects, and being a liaison/lead for initiatives involving our department and other groups around campus.

Which of your department’s teams are currently working on-campus?

We are full steam ahead! Service, trades, and warehouse staff are all on campus, along with clerical and management support. We have found opportunities, with certain positions, for some remote work. But, for the most part, we need to be on campus, so we have established a solid plan for working within the health guidelines.

How has your team’s work changed since COVID-19?

Aside from communicating and following the public health requirements, we have acknowledged the need to work as individuals within a team. What I mean by that is that we limit the number of staff during service, or while providing service, and creating spaces that allow for individuals to perform work safely. Each individual’s steps to servicing or accessing a space have changed. In particular, especially with increased frequency of cleaning, we have added measures and steps related to workspace access to increase safety for staff and occupants.

How does it feel to be providing such important services to the UBC community during this time?

Looking at this situation and reading or hearing on the news about all the heartache and challenges people are facing, I feel inspired to rise above the negativity. The best thing for us is to practice positivity, and at work it’s uplifting to know we can help support that for all our guests with the work our team does.

Marine Drive courtyard lawn with COVID-19 signage

Marine Drive courtyard lawn with COVID-19 signage. Photo: Ricky Biring.

Is there anything in particular you and your staff have been doing to keep spirits up?

It’s a trying time, and uniquely so for each person. I think listening closely to what each other needs right now is really important and can make us all feel a little less distant. Knowing that we are working together towards a common goal is key to keeping our spirits up right now too.

What else would you like us to know about your team?

It is hard to pick someone that is not going above and beyond right now!