GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Taking pride in details few others notice is all in a day's work for Chief Machinist's Mate Tony Rivera and Chief Culinary Specialist Romonn Calhoun.
Attractive landscaping greets graduation guests. Freshly-painted compartments welcome new recruit divisions. A loose railing is now safely secured. These are all just a small part of the results achieved by Recruit Training Command (RTC) Facilities, which is led by Rivera, who assumed the duties and responsibilities as Facilities leading chief petty officer from Calhoun, May 23.
Facilities is responsible for the oversight and coordination of regular maintenance and repair of 42 buildings, including all recruit training ships and 27 others used by support staff, as well as the grounds of the 240-acre command.
Serving as the liaison to Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Midwest, which is headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, RTC Facilities ensures staff and recruits accomplish their mission in a safe and secure environment.
"Seeing things actually get fixed, seeing things actually working and people happy about something that was broken in their area and you got it fixed - they appreciate you," Calhoun said. "It's a good feeling at the end of the day knowing that you're improving the base. Having things fixed makes the day go by better."
Rivera and Calhoun supervise a well-organized reporting system that ensures maintenance and repair issues are solved in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Each building has an RTC staff member who serves as the front-line eyes and ears for Facilities as a building maintenance supervisor. Additionally, each recruit ship has a civilian unaccompanied housing manager who also can report issues to Facilities.
Rivera said he'll get additional feedback as needed from those in the ships and will personally review the problem before entering it into a computer program known as MAXIMO. Rivera said the visual double-check is just one of the methods he uses to make sure job details are correct, which minimizes costs, as well as unnecessary or inaccurate job orders.
"It's trust, but verify," Rivera said. "Jobs are entered into Outlook and they describe what they believe it is. But if I actually look at it, I might see that it's something completely different than the way it was described. Before I put any job into MAXIMO, I want to verify that what needs to be done gets entered correctly."
Calhoun said nearly all of the 4,400 requests Facilities received in 2017 became job orders.
Job orders are assigned one of three priorities: routine, urgent or emergency. NAVFAC responds to jobs labeled routine within 30 days; jobs deemed urgent are handled within five days; and all safety-related issues and other emergency level jobs receive a same-day response.
"We'll prioritize, but NAVFAC will as well," Rivera said. "They take into account and see what key words are in the job. So if [there are] keywords like mold, safety, alarms, [or] leaks, that's going to determine which priority the job will receive."
In addition to daily tours of buildings and grounds, Rivera supervises weekly inspections of all 18 RTC vehicles.
While BMS personnel may take care of quick, small repairs such as a broken rack, NAVFAC uses mostly civilian contractors to get the job done. The 900 professionals utilized by NAVFAC Midwest include civilian architects, engineers, acquisition specialists, environmental specialists, public works tradespeople and administrative personnel, as well as active-duty Civil Engineer Corps officers, Seabees and Reservists.
The majority of the jobs are considered routine such as maintenance, landscaping, trash service, pest control, plumbing, painting, broken ceiling tiles, fixing washers and driers, lighting, potholes, fallen branches and many more. But not every job is routine or easily fixed. One of the more unusual and ongoing jobs is discouraging swallows from making RTC their home.
"The birds build nests and they make it with mostly mud and it's hard to keep them out," Calhoun said. "They're federally protected, so once they lay eggs in the nest, we can't touch them. We can deal with nest removal before eggs are laid. Afterward you can't touch it."
Rivera receives an email verification from NAVFAC once a job is completed. He'll then notify the BMS, who removes the job from Outlook.
"It's just the best feeling when you actually get the job done," Rivera said. "The [commanding officer] has been asking for grass near the Iowa and now it's ready to be coming in soon. Once that's done, it's going to be a good feeling of job accomplishment."
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into
the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. About 38,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/rtc/.
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