Most Harvard School of Public Health employees got an unexpected day off when Hurricane Sandy barreled into the Eastern seaboard on October 29, 2012. But for a dedicated crew of operations, security, and other core staff, it was just another – very windy and rainy – day at work. Thanks to their careful preparations beginning days ahead of the massive storm, and watchful eyes during the brunt of it, HSPH’s buildings felt only minor impacts from the wind and water. Power stayed on all day, keeping laboratory and other critical functions running without interruption.

“I think we managed very well,” said Ken Wenger, senior director of operations. “We have aging facilities and there are a few things to take care of, but all the planning paid off.”

Late last week when it became clear that Sandy was going to be a severe storm, HSPH’s Facilities Management Operations team under the leadership of Area Supervisor Alex Machaiek checked all of the School’s buildings from rooftop to basement making sure that everything was securely attached and water tight. Operations staff stayed in constant contact with the University’s Emergency Operations Center and reviewed emergency procedures for situations such as evacuations and long-term power outages.