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People of SFU: Meet Krystal Ness, VPFA Facilities’ Client Services Supervisor

March 30, 2021
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This is the first story in our People of SFU series, where we’re celebrating SFU’s unsung heroes—those who go above and beyond the call of duty to create community, advance SFU’s mission and make the university a great place to work and learn. Look for more stories coming soon!

By Laura Kohli

Meet Krystal Ness, Client Services Supervisor for the VP Finance and Administration’s (VPFA) Facilities Services, working within Maintenance and Operations on the Burnaby Campus. SFU News asked Krystal to tell us about a typical workday at SFU. Here’s what she had to say:

Starting the day

After a good cup of coffee, I start my day on campus. While there, I oversee client projects, monitor requests that come through our Facilities request system and field questions/concerns regarding Facilities work on campus.

Today starts with a walk around to check on implemented wayfinding and COVID-19 signage, improving the look and feel of the university and improving campus experience. I oversee a new signage install, then check in on a newly finished update to a washroom. 

Ness checks in on work being done in the carpentry shop. Also pictured: Michael Redhead, carpenter, Facilities Services (left) and Gretta Burley, carpenter, Facilities Services (centre).

Afterwards, I head over to the carpentry shop to inspect a custom kitchen cabinet job that needs to fit into an unusually sized space. As a key part of my role, I supervise a team of building technologists who oversee minor projects on campus, like office renovations, blind replacements and flooring replacements. I’m fortunate to work with such skilled tradespeople. 

Of course, anytime I am walking across campus, I look for any issues/concerns/damage to ensure these are addressed in a timely fashion – we are always looking for ways to improve our campus and the community’s experience.

My afternoon

Is it really the afternoon already? After a quick lunch and second coffee, I’m ready to tackle my afternoon. 

At my desk now, I’m responding to emails and phone calls that have come in from our campus community. Aside from furniture design asks and signage requests, we respond to all types of needs, including window removals and replacements, seismic system installs, lighting upgrades, and even unique requests such as designing a LED Laser Light Warning system for labs containing class four lasers.

Then, I have a Zoom call with the Client Services team I supervise to answer any questions or issues they’ve encountered in the projects they’re managing. A lot of requests are unique and need a custom solution. We work with our clients to design a solution that is as cost effective and efficient as possible while also meeting campus design standards and requirements. 

Ness is pictured here with Novia Chow, records management coordinator, Facilities Services, next to a custom plexiglass barrier installed by her team to enhance COVID-19 safety on campus.

In addition to client-based projects, I also support larger maintenance-driven projects on campus. Recently, a key focus for our team has been accessibility improvements. To end off my day, I check in with the Centre for Accessible Learning to discuss potential solutions for enhancing accessibility and inclusivity on campus.

Wrapping up

Time to wrap up for the day and head home to my second job as mom to a wonderful little one! 

As I am preparing to leave, I think back on what our team and I have accomplished together. While our projects might be smaller in scale, they can have such a positive impact on the community, whether we’re supporting COVID-19 safety efforts, creating a more accessible campus or improving the student experience.

As I drive away from campus towards home, I reflect on how I absolutely love supporting my campus community and working to ensure the spaces they work and learn in meet their needs.

Thanks to Krystal Ness for sharing a brief glimpse into her typical workday world as part of VPFA’s Facilities Services. The VPFA provides leadership in foundational, day-to-day operational and administrative support services to meet the needs of SFU’s students, staff, faculty and wider community across all three campuses. You can learn more by visiting the VPFA website: www.sfu.ca/vpfa.