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"A moment with ... Clarence Blevins"

02/16/2012

Clarence Blevins
"A moment with ..." is a Q-and-A column featuring Miami employees.

Many of us get to know the university's trucking and special services unit when our offices are moved and stacks of blue moving bins are delivered. The bins are only a small part of the nearly constant motion that Clarence Blevins oversees out of his office and from the loading docks at the Cole Service Building. Blevins is senior manager of trucking and special services.

Q: What are typical assignments for your crew?
A: We handle the physical office moves, special event set-ups, help student organizations with events, manage recycling containers, haul large loads and deliver everything on campus that needs to be distributed from central receiving. We also make some off-campus runs for supplies. Our mechanics service the motor pool, maintaining all university vehicles with oil changes, etc.

Q: What has changed since you started here as a driver and custodian 19 years ago?
A: There may not seem to be a lot of change, but with the strategic priorities review, we are consolidating services to save money. I am also the fleet manager now and oversee the management of recycling on campus. We’re trying to be more environmentally friendly and one way is with the idling sensors in our fleet vehicles to save money and reduce our carbon footprint. To improve safety, we have added a hydraulic platform lift to help lift much of the lab equipment we move; heavy appliance carts to help with moving larger upright appliances; and plastic folding chairs instead of metal, which make the job much easier and a lot lighter.

Q: What would surprise people to know about trucking or special services?
A: I think they would be surprised at how much we do with the handful of people we have. We have six full-time drivers, one of whom is a shuttle driver, to and from the regionals. We talk with people to know their needs in order to make it happen and we work hand-in-hand with planning and construction, to plan and schedule deliveries. We want to do as much in-house as we can. People are amazed at how quick we are, but I have really good people and they know what to do.

Q: I have to ask about the bins that are used during moves. How many are there?
A: Miami owns nearly 900 blue bins for departmental moves. Sometimes that's not enough. When they’re not in use, they're locked up with tables and chairs and other equipment in the basement of Hoyt.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
A: The favorite part would be accomplishing the goals that are put in front of us. Times are changing and change keeps coming, but when you get them done, it's a good feeling.

Q: What is life like outside of special services?
A: I’m mechanically inclined. I’ve run a part-time home insulation business for 32 years. And, I'm Bev's (his wife is Miami’s interim manager of telecommunications) Bob Vila: She watches HGTV and I do the projects. I tell people we've been in a starter home for 30 years because I keep adding things. I've re-done every room in the house, right down to the wiring.

But I do also have some down time. I’m an avid pool shooter, in a league. I used to bowl and I enjoy working on hot rods. It's a money pit, but I enjoy it.

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Some of the 900 moving bins used for campus department moves

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