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Powerplant Operator III

Wayne D
Meet Wayne! Wayne is a Powerplant Operator III for Medxcel in New York. As a Powerplant Operator III, Wayne is the team lead and he and his team are responsible for ensuring the safe operation of the power plant and associated control structures at their facility. They operate, maintain, and adjust boilers, furnaces, engines, pumps, heat exchangers, generators, motors, chillers, cooling towers, heating equipment, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and associated equipment in the facility. This role serves as the subject matter expert on power plant operations, safety procedures, and regulatory requirements. As the team lead, Wayne assists with training the other operators to monitor and record device data, inspect and repair equipment, perform preventative maintenance and monitor meters, gauges and other devices to ensure safe and efficient equipment operation.
 
“I’m in New York but I got called to assist with a crisis flood relief project in Jacksonville, Florida after a hurricane. It was wonderful to see Medxcel employees from multiple locations and many levels of the company working together to help others. I even met the President of Medxcel, Mike Argir working there. He shook my hand and introduced himself and told me if there was ever anything I needed to just give him a call. That’s the type of leaders we have at Medxcel.”
 

What are your day to day responsibilities?

Every day is different. Because our plant is manned 24/7/365, when we come in we’re relieving the prior shift. So the first thing we do is get up to speed on all the activities that happened on the shift that is ending. All of our Powerplant Operators I, II and III do pretty much the same work, but as the Powerplant Operator III, I have team lead responsibilities and do more decision making and assign work. Our responsibilities include taking and recording hourly equipment readings and checking that all equipment is online. We also listen to the equipment; it talks to us!  When you’re in this field you come to understand that pumps and motors sound a particular way and when they sound different there’s something that needs to be looked at. We do regular preventative maintenance on all the equipment, conduct boiler and water softener testing, inspect generators weekly, and do a monthly generator test. I am the New York state certified Class A and B Fuel Tank Operator. To get that designation I completed an 80-hour class and passed an exam. With that certification I am responsible for all the fuel oil storage at our hospital, which is enough to run our backup boilers and generators in an emergency. I have a total of four Powerplant Operator I and Powerplant Operator IIs on my team and I train and assist them in managing their work.
 

Describe the path you took to arrive in your current role.

I feel like I’m a bit of an odd duck even thought I’ve been working here for 35 years. I went to college to study political science and when I got out, I started a position in security. There weren’t a lot of hours or opportunities with the security job and there were no benefits. So I joined the engineering team here and became a groundskeeper. I did that for about five years and then was offered an entry-level opportunity in the power plant. After about 15 years I started a family and needed to be available during the day to provide childcare, so I moved to a second-shift maintenance position in the hospital for about five years while my kids were young. When my kids were school-aged I had the opportunity to move to the day shift on the construction crew. After that I moved back to the power plant as a Powerplant Operator II and in November 2020 our Powerplant Operator III retired and I moved into my current role. I feel I’ve truly done pretty much all of the maintenance-type roles in this hospital! I’m a jack of all trades.
 

Has Medxcel provided you with training and development to help you grow your skills and career?

Medxcel sent me to a week-long boiler training in Oswego, New York. I was also sent to be trained on Automated Logic. All of our heating and cooling generates from the power plant, and because we’re manned 24 hours a day, we use a computer system called Automated Logic that controls all the heating and cooling changes within the hospital. If someone needs their area of the hospital warmed up or cooled down, they call our extension and we’re able to make the adjustments right from that system. The program is very intricate, so they sent me to school for a week to learn the system. I brought back what I learned and shared it with my team, conducting the training for them here on site. Medxcel is always willing to provide us with opportunities for training and certification to help us in our jobs and to allow us to grow our careers.
 

What is the best part of your job?

I love the variety of my work. I feel like I’m doing different projects every day. Being the team lead I take the reigns if there are major repairs to be done and it’s interesting to work on something different every day. My background has provided me with a lot of variety in construction, landscaping, security and more so I’ve always like to learn new things.
 

Which of Medxcel’s Core Values do you feel is most important to you and why?

That’s a tough question because I truly feel they are all very important values. If I had to pick one, I would say Dedication. I try to live a life of dedication, because by being truly dedicated to your work and to others you will display all of the other values as a result. Every day I just strive to be the best I can be so that I can serve all those we are taking care of here in the hospital. The power plant truly serves the entire facility; we are caring for Medxcel employees, hospital staff, patients, visitors, and our coworkers. And you probably know how difficult it can be to make everyone comfortable if you’ve ever been part of a thermostat war in your home or office. It’s funny that although my job is very complex and technical, the most challenging part of the job is to put a happy medium on the temperature to make multiple people comfortable in any given area. It can be very tough!
 

What is the most unusual thing that’s happened to you during the course of your work at Medxcel?

Once I was called down to assist in the morgue. They had brought a deceased patient to the morgue and he was already in a casket. He was a very large fellow and was tightly wedged into the casket. It was a really tight squeeze! We were called in to help take the casket apart to remove the patient so that the autopsy could be performed. That is definitely one of my most interesting memories!
 

Have you learned anything unexpected in this role?

I am still fairly new in this leadership role and I have already learned that I am leading four different people with four different personalities and learning styles. I’ve learned that it’s important for me to treat each one of them differently and I hope that I’m constantly improving as a compassionate leader. My managers have been great at helping me grow as a leader; they always have my back and if I ever need anything I know I can go to them for help.
 

What would you say to someone who asks you if they should consider working for Medxcel?

I tell people they should come aboard Medxcel and join in! I think Medxcel is a great company to work for. I really enjoy my job and the team I work with and I have wonderful support from my leaders.
 

Is there a project you’ve been involved with that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m in New York but I got called to assist with a crisis flood relief project in Jacksonville, Florida after a hurricane. Medxcel staff from all over the country went down to help them out and I was part of the cleanup down there. It was wonderful to see Medxcel employees from multiple locations and many levels of the company working together to help others. I even met the President of Medxcel, Mike Argir working there. He shook my hand and introduced himself and told me if there was ever anything I needed to just give him a call. That’s the type of leaders we have at Medxcel.
 

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