Jerry was presented and honored before the City Commission on Monday, May 6, 2013
Jerry Sheffer, Facility Maintenance Supervisor, joined the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in January 2010. His primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the 80,000 square foot physical plant is to be sure the hall is in tip top condition. His arrival was immediately felt as he took stock of the Van Wezel’s HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems and began to systematically correct long-standing deficiencies in the system’s designs, operations and maintenance.
Safety is a major priorotiy for Jerry and he immediately implemented new procedures to improve crew safety during routine maintnenance and janitorial work. He also created and installed new devices and equipment that allowed the maintenance crew to work in areas of the theater that are difficult to reach. Jerry has succeeded in implementing safer ways to maintain the small; confined spaces, such as above the ceiling of the Hall requiring work on electrical wiring and A/C ducts.
Jerry has also taken the lead in improving the Van Wezel’s energy efficiency. He was instrumental in implementing new HVAC procedures and schedules which have substantially lowered electricity and water usage. He worked to retro-fit the building’s incandescent lamps with LED bulbs and fixtures. He also took charge in switching to Green cleaning supplies and equipment where possible. Jerry has been able to reduce overall facility expenses. This has been done by requiring vendors – old and new – to justify material costs and rates. By installing upgraded and more efficient equipment, and performing rigorous cost-benefit analyses of the building operations, Van Wezel has been able to cut thousands of dollars in cost behind the scenes.
Working with the Facility Manager, Jerry provides invaluable input into the planning and execution of the Van Wezel’s various capital projects, ranging from new auditorium seating to major system replacements. He proactively initiates new improvements to the building. This includes exterior lighting, electrical service, painting, and building new work areas to upgrade the facility’s public spaces. He is the first to jump in when inevitable problems arise in the 43 year old building, and leads his maintenance and janitorial crew by his actions as well as words.
By its very nature as an unwieldy, complex and sometimes even mysterious theater, the Van Wezel holds many types of staff, stagehands, visiting crews, artisits, audiences and volunteers who work in the facility on a daily basis. The Van Wezel operations can tax the patience of anyone. Jerry has more than met the unique challenges he confronts every day. Congratulations!