Case Studies

Angelo Pellegrini – San Diego Community College District

Maintenance revolves around collaboratively predicting the future

In 2001, when Angelo Pellegrini became the lead electrician at the San Diego Community College District, it had just 10 locations spread across 1.6 million square feet. After several recent projects, today, the district has expanded to 4.7 million square feet, including 54 multi-story buildings.

Pellegrini has been with the district throughout the changes, becoming the acting director of facilities services in 2018 and becoming permanent in 2020. He tells Blueprint that some things have remained constant, however, like the number of facilities services team members—170—and their mindset to maintain operational excellence for the more than 100,000 students, faculty and staff. He says the team—their loyalty and devotion—is critical to the success not just of the facilities department but the entire district, especially as it continues to grow.

Angelo Pellegrini | Director of Facilities Services | San Diego Community College District

Angelo Pellegrini | Director of Facilities Services | San Diego Community College District

To recognize and validate their hard work, he launched a spotlight for employee of the quarter on SDCCD’s website page for facilities services in a section he’s titled “Focusing on Excellence.”

In June, he shone the light on Mark Doubleday, senior planner and scheduler. Pellegrini highlighted the work Doubleday’s done since he joined in 2002, including quickly handling a major leak in the Learning Resource Center at San Diego Mesa College that flooded four floors during the holiday break in December 2022.

“Facilities management requires collaboration, planning and internal and external partnerships, all of which my team and I have been cultivating for over two decades,” Pellegrini says.

Fueling compliance and collaboration

This collaboration includes occasionally bringing in someone from the district’s extended team of vendors when needed. In certain situations or with particular, specialized projects, Pellegrini and his team may not have the necessary manpower or assets—or simply need an outside perspective.

Collaboration is an essential part of everything he does. In fact, he has

With advice and input from Pellegrini, his leadership team, the officers and the supervisors, SDCCD contracted its first asset management firm in 2022. External consultants from the firm have been helping him and his team assess every building from the foundations to the rooftops. Together, they’re also analyzing the lifespan of equipment—everything from air conditioners and water heaters to safety hoods in labs and furniture in common areas—to reasonably predict when equipment will need to be replaced.

“This will help us develop long term strategies, which will help ensure we can continue maintaining and developing the best learning environments for students, staff and the community,” he says.

Angelo Pellegrini | Director of Facilities Services | San Diego Community College District

The asset management survey isn’t just about ensuring that each facility is functioning at its highest possible level, Pellegrini explains, but also about helping the district’s board and other leadership budget and plan for future projects. This includes setting aside enough funds and time for materials and additional staff, including vendors.

His vice chancellor is the one who had the idea of partnering with this firm for this survey. Previously, state representatives would come and do walk throughs. After these on-site assessments, they’d notate issues or things that needed upgrading and set aside funds. While this worked well for some time, the state visits decreased, which led to the vice chancellor establishing a new process.

Pelligrini says he is a particular fan of the database the firm created for SDCCD, so the facilities team and others have access to real time information. This means he can, for instance, know if the mechanical system in a specific building needs to be replaced within the month and budget accordingly.

“Having this information readily available and accessible to me and my team doesn’t just allow us to be on top of issues and often prevent them but also gives us a helpful idea about staffing and funding needs,” he says.

Such predictive planning is important to balance out the surprise issues the facilities team often tackles, especially when it comes to ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.

An electrifying plan

Pellegrini and his team try to stay ahead of California state guidelines, including those related to sustainability and carbon reduction. This is why SDCCD campuses already provide several electric vehicle charging stations for students, faculty and staff.

Following California’s lead, SDCCD is also intensifying its sustainability efforts, such as replacing its aging fleet with electric vehicles. Between campus police, other campus security and Pelligrini’s team, the college is home to over 155 vehicles. He recently purchased the team’s first electric vehicle, which he and the facilities team supervisors use to conduct district business and campus inspections.

Angelo Pellegrini | Director of Facilities Services | San Diego Community College District

While the complete transition to EVs may take a few years, another is well underway. As 2022 began, Pellegrini and his team started switching over to battery-powered equipment for the gardening staff, such as lawnmowers, trimmers and utility carts.

Sustainability is just one part of the Strategic Plan 2023-2030 the facilities management team helped SDCCD complete in 2022.

“Electrifying everything possible is an important project for my team,” he says. “We’re taking a more active and immersive role in helping the district achieve its sustainability goals.”

Pellegrini has watched the district evolve over two decades and is excited about the prospects for the future. He loves being a part of positive change and seeing his efforts come to fruition.

“When I came in as a lead electrician, I hadn’t anticipated staying here for 22 years,” Pellegrini says. “Now, I’m leading the facilities team as we electrify the campus, and I couldn’t be happier working with the people I do to accomplish the amazing things we do for everyone on our campuses.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VII 2023 Edition here.

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