Blended team found formula for success

March 25, 2010

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SFU’s annual staff achievement awards honour staffers’ exceptional personal and work-related accomplishments. SFU News has profiled each of the 2009 winners, who were recognized at SFU’s annual faculty and staff awards dinner March 10 at the Diamond Alumni Centre.

Staff achievement, team award
In less than 16 weeks, staff from the chemistry department and facilities services did the unthinkable. They designed, built and relocated all of the chemistry teaching and research labs, and moved offices and support spaces into borrowed space around the Burnaby campus. All in preparation for a 20-month, $49-million renovation to the chemistry department’s aging facilities.

It was a herculean effort that, by all accounts, would normally take at least a year. And for their successful efforts, both teams received the 2009 staff achievement award for teamwork.

Said one nominator: "The teams’ dedication to the task, ability to communicate, define challenges, make decisions, work together, hire contractors, direct construction, manage client expectations, manage the cost and complete it within an unbelievably short schedule, highlights the best attributes in any great team. Not only did they achieve the near impossible, they did it with good humour and laughter."

The teams were led by Ken MacFarlane, manager of laboratory operations in the chemistry department, and Bill Nelson, development manager in facilities services. They faced such a tight time frame, says MacFarlane, because the government infrastructure grant has to be spent within two years or it will disappear.

Said one nominator: "There was a huge potential for the project to be derailed by the enormity of the task and the volume of decisions."

"This team exemplifies dedication, collaboration and cooperation," said another. "Their success is a very significant contribution to both departments, the chemistry renewal project and the university."

Submit nominations for the 2010 awards at


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