We use Utility Direct and have been for several years. It meets our needs well, and I believe they are coming out soon with a Conservation Direct tie-in to it. The reports are good, but I wish they were a little more customizable. I often have to bend my reports to their data format, which is usually fine. I will say that they revamped the program and I love the exporting capabilities into Excel.
We’ve been solicited by a number of other vendors, but for the price and the excellent service that SchoolDude has given us, I’ve stuck with Utility Direct.
James H. Morris, III
Assistant Director, Environmental and Energy Management
School Plant Services
Virginia Beach City Public Schools
1568 Corporate Landing Parkway, Suite 200
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
In my experience, the primary reasons for prolonged resistance to backpack models is often tied to effective, consistent training and discipline of the individual user. The common misconception associated with the term “Backpack” lends a casual bystander to think the weight is carried and stressed placed on the back of the user. Anyone who has been properly trained and experienced with the ”Pro Team coach” series knows that this is not the case. In my organization the operators have been very vocal and expressive on their initial concerns. From a staff of over a hundred custodians there are only two exceptions who both have ergonomic issues from preexisting conditions that make the backpack unfeasible. For these operators, substitutions have been provided in the form of an upright and a canister respectively.
What we discovered from analysis and survey was that each wearer needed to adjust the units to their particular body dynamics (As per training program) . As long as they remained the proprietary user of that specific device, then proper fit and weight displacement was maintained. The straps around hips, chest and shoulders were correctly aligned thus keeping the center of gravity maintained over the hips as opposed to pulling backward or down on the shoulders. If logistics or budget require the device to be shared by multiple operators; then discipline comes into play at this point. This scenario requires the device be properly readjusted each time it is used. Once the fit was correct , the employment of the device with a consistent observance of body ergonomics was the last piece to a the puzzle. This retraining takes time to perfect but once the benefits and versatility are fully explored, then the operator can make full use over the course of a full shift and recognize time savings in areas of soil removal and time management.
The few holdouts who resisted change were allowed to express their objective opinions and concerns. The Pro Team representative was able to address these issues and conduct hands on, real time demonstrations and find realistic workable solutions. With peer analysis, feedback and ongoing training to reinforce proper safety procedures for equipment use our transition was successful. My final assessment: no one piece of equipment can do it all. The canisters and upright units have their place. It is still about finding the best tool for the job at hand to support IAQ, and overall cleanliness.
Director Custodial Operations
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
One colleague writes - Can anyone provide guidance as to whether there is a way to fertilize and eliminate weeds on athletics fields without having to navigate a maze of regulations, restrictions, etc?
One colleague responded – The only thing that I can think of would be to go 100% organic on fertilizer applications and look into other natural herbicide and pesticide control substances such as liquid corn gluten for crab grass control and cedar oil for insect control. The biggest issue would be that those products do not control all weeds and insects.
Running a good IPM program and trying to apply pesticides and herbicides during periods when students are not present reduces the amount of paper work (notifications) but usually there is some staff that still needs notice.
Anoter colleague responded – Unless I am mistaken, even if the applications are contracted out (a necessity if you don’t have a pesticide license) you still have to maintain IPM records of all applications and make sure that notifications are sent out prior to any applicaltion. Notifications do not have to be sent out if there is no one there for 5 days after the application. However, notifications do have to be sent out to anyone (parents of students, staff, faculty, renters) that will be there during that period. New regulatio
Another colleague responded – We over seed our sports fields to help eliminate any weed growth. This has been working well for us
Another colleague responded - I work on a military installation and our approach to our athletic fields is as follows:
We apply a pre-emergent in the fall and again during the early spring once the earth warms up, then we practice as the rest of you do good turf management with a good watering and mowing schedule. But instead of doing any large treatments we resort to spot treatments if we use any chemical. It took a while but I finally for the base personnel sold on proper turf management to keep the weeds under control. I am now trying to get them to use more organic fertilizers to promote healthier turf growth and management. I don’t care so much for using chemical because of the cost and sometimes depending on what you use, the amount that you apply is lot. That is why I went to spot treatments, it takes longer but we have gotten some really good control and a pretty good cost savings on the pre-emergents and the other chemicals we use. If there is an organic way of maintaining your turf that is not as costly and can really help the soil please share. I know quite a few folks who would love to implement that type program for their installations.
- Do you have the reference for proven rise in test scores?
EPA has several documents on their children’s health website with data http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/pubs.html You may also contact Matt Anderson at the IPM Institute of North America for additional information
I was recently asked about where to find data that quantifyies the savings achieved by performing regular equipment preventive maintenance vs. only doing required repairs.
SchoolDude.com did extensive on the topic and the report can be found at
Short answer $200 hr 3hr minimum. Our policy states that additional staff is required for press box operation and we staff at least two grounds crew to manage the stadium. This is an additional $25 hr for each grounds crew person and $35 for technology person for press box operation. We keep concession in house and only open general restrooms. Our stadium is new this year so policy is being adjusted as we go.
I thought that you would like to know what one community in MA is charging for the community use of fields
What do others charge?
||Community F- Profit
||Non- Community F – Profit
|Track, Press Box, or Score Board
|Practice Field Lights
The September School IPM 2015 eNewsletter features articles on Contracting for IPM Services in Schools, Facility Managers Learn IPM Tactics for Schools and 2011-2012 Pest Management Calendar Released.
If you have not done so already, please consider signing up for the monthly School IPM 2015 newsletter mailing list to:
- Learn how you can reduce pesticide use and pest complaints by more than 70%!
- Create a successful IPM program with no long-term increase in pest management costs.
- Learn strategies for managing pests all year:
o Fall – stinging insects
o Spring – ants
o New pests – bed bugs
- Improve your ability to educate and gain cooperation from key staff including maintenance, custodial and food service.
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