A fairly new face is playing a large role in the 2020 plan: Frank Schumacher. On April 20, Jackie Looser, vice president of finance and administration, announced that Schumacher would be joining the Olivet College team. Schumacher was made the new director of facilities of the Physical Plant and comes with more than 20 years of facility management work under his belt.
In addition to experience, Schumacher holds a bachelor’s degree in Management and Business from Western Michigan University. Some of his past employers include Kellogg, Western Michigan, YMCA and most recently, Marshall Public Schools. During his seven years at Marshall, he led a $35 million bond project to renovate part of the school, including a 900-seat auditorium, which was completed last year.
When first asked, Schumacher said, he wasn’t sure why he came to Olivet, but, later admitted that while visiting the campus, thought, “I think I need to be here.”
Many of the projects that are underway are little improvements, Schumacher said, because it’s the little things that can drive people nuts and make the biggest difference. For instance, adding a few large flower pots to the entrance of the Conservatory, or fixing a squeaky door can make a huge difference in appearance and everyday life.
When talking about his job, Schumacher said, “I try to get rid of what I call ugly,” but he must do that with the college’s designated funds. He and his team are trying to put energy efficient and long-lasting improvements in place. Schumacher’s team consists of 10 to 12 housekeepers, a housekeeping supervisor, six maintenance employees, two groundskeepers and occasionally a few student workers. “I’ve got a great team I am working with,” Schumacher said.
Schumacher also cares about the safety of the students and preserving their legacy. He knows the importance of preserving Olivet history, such as keeping the fountain in the college square that represents the Class of 1937. The challenge is to find a balance between the two while staying within the budget.
“We care about [the students],” is something Schumacher repeatedly said during a tour of the campus, in addition to emphasizing the safety of the students.