University fleet keeps Carolina rolling along

For two electric Nissan Leaf cars, Miguel Jackson, public communication specialist in Finance and Operations, created artwork to promote the University’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative. Jackson designed the wrap, including mud flaps, in about seven days, then a local vendor printed his work onto the 17 vinyl panels per car and applied them. “Every time I see someone drive it across campus, I can feel good about getting the message out to everyone to think green,” Jackson said.

Some rumble along. Others glide silently.

It’s early morning at Carolina, and the 897-vehicle University fleet is moving across campus.

Without the vehicles, the people who drive them and the technicians who maintain them, the University could not function as one of the world’s top teaching and research institutions. Departments that use fleet vehicles include information technology services, mail services, grounds, housekeeping, athletics, construction services, building services and more. Their work supports classroom technology, research laboratories, air conditioning and heating, plumbing, electrical fixtures, moving, surplus and facility repairs of all sorts.

In turn, the fleet keeps running thanks to the University Service Station in the Giles Horney complex. Mark Stark, fleet operations manager at the station; Alice Moore, administrative support associate; and John Harris, business services coordinator, manage all service scheduling, billing and track monthly inspections that result in cost savings and identify safety issues. Technicians Michael Barnwell, Nick Frisk, Ballard “Butch” Bishop and mechanic Santiago Paredes handle repairs and maintenance.

Stark says the staff emphasizes sustainability, efficiency and technology that keep pace with the newest best practices. “I’m proud of our shop. They all study and do fantastic work. We work with the departments on ways to reduce their fuel consumption, costs and green footprint. That’s why the uses of electric vehicles are growing so quickly.”

  • Keeping the University Rolling
  • 897 vehicles 726 University owned, 171 leased from state motor fleet
  • 3,300 repairs by University Service Station in 2017
  • 2,180-pound e-ride smallest vehicle
  • 26,000-pound roll-off truck largest vehicle
  • 371 vehicles have digital monitors to track speed, idle time and mileage
  • 830 pieces of Grounds equipment
Pedro Vasquez, an officer in Carolina’s Police Department, relies on his Dodge Charger when patrolling the south side of campus. Officers go through an extensive checklist each day to be sure UNC Police’s 30 vehicles are ready to go.
Technician Ballard “Butch” Bishop works at the University Service Station, where he and his co-workers installed monitors on vehicles that have reduced gas use by 24,000 gallons and eliminated 300,000 pounds of greenhouse gas in one year. Station manager Mark Stark says that he is proud of the work ethic and expertise of Bishop and his co-workers, who perform 3,300 repairs annually.
Housekeeper environmental technicians (left to right) Carol Womack, Stella Verdin Mencias, Wanda Thompson, Faydene Alston and Ramona Gutierrez stand near a Ford Transit 350, which can hold up to 12 people. The Transit, with a V6 engine that runs on E85 fuel, is one of many University fleet vehicles that Housekeeping Services uses to transport workers and supplies to and from buildings throughout campus.
Driver Shawn Ellis, a waste diversion operations supervisor, is at the wheel of the fleet’s largest vehicle, a 26,000-pound roll-off truck, used to move large, rectangular roll-off containers, usually holding construction waste or recyclable items. The truck is used to pick up pallets and to move containers for construction and demolition. The truck is also used during student move-in and move-out and for events such as athletic contests for the disposal of recycling and trash.
Electric street-legal vehicles such as e-rides are the newest and smallest fleet additions. Chris Steele, a facility maintenance electrician with Maintenance Electrical shop #245203, says that the carts make it easier to access any of the 15 buildings he services and to unload materials. “I generally use about a quarter of the battery power each day,” he said. “It gets up to speed quickly and has a top speed of 25 miles per hour.”
This sign alerts University fleet drivers that they have arrived at the University Service Station, where staff keep nearly 900 vehicles running so that the University can fulfill its mission. Besides saving fuel and reducing pollution through technology, the staff performs around 3,300 repairs annually along with monthly safety inspections.

 

Story by Scott Jared, University Gazette.
Photos by Jon Gardiner, University Communications.
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