By Suni Jo Roberts
The Plant Operations building on WCC’s campus will be renamed after Damon B. Flowers, vice president of facilities, development and operations in light of his retirement after 23 years of service at the college.
The announcement was made at the most recent board of trustees meeting on Oct. 24, which recognized Flowers’ work toward ensuring the campus has run “smoothly, efficiently and with a keen respect for the environment” under his supervision.
During Flowers’ time at WCC, the campus has expanded in size from 600K gross square feet to 1.2 million gross square feet, according to the board resolution. Through this expansion Flowers has supervised the construction of numerous buildings on campus including the Gunder Myran, Health and Fitness and the Landau Skilled Trades buildings, to name a few.
As a member of the sustainability council, this campus expansion occurred under Flowers with an eye toward environmental responsibility. This has earned buildings on campus silver and gold internationally recognized LEED green building certifications.
“Obviously totally, unexpected, bizarre, a very nice honor,” said Damon Flowers on hearing that the Plant Operations building is being renamed the Damon B. Flowers Building.
Bill Ghrist, manager of Energy and Systems Integration at WCC, has worked with Flowers since he started in 1994. Ghrist started just three months before Flowers and has been able to see Flowers’ approach in making sure the college runs efficiently for years to come.
Ghrist mentioned a project Flowers took on about four or five years after he started at the college to fix the electrical infrastructure of campus buildings. At the time, campus buildings were connected in such a way that to perform preventative maintenance on one building, other buildings’ electricity had to be taken down as well. So, Flowers implemented a loop fed electrical supply that allows maintenance to isolate just one building without affecting any other buildings.
“He and I have always clicked and seen the benefits of each other’s abilities,” said Ghrist. “I’ve looked up to Damon in many respects as a mentor that has helped me to develop as a better and more well rounded facilities professional. I like to think that I’ve always kind of been his right hand person to assist at providing him with information or services or just a person to bounce ideas off of for the full 24 years of working together. I’ve always enjoyed working with him.”
Penny Hill, executive secretary to Flowers throughout his time at WCC has also worked with him from the beginning of his tenure.
“He was a big catalyst in making sure that we brought the campus up to speed in meeting with all the other technology growth and things that were going on,” said Hill.
Hill also mentioned the close work relationship they’ve developed over working together for many years.
“Personally I worked for him for 24 years,” said Hill. “I have an immense amount of respect for him. He is a very particular type of guy. He is very detail oriented, but he is very fair. It’s almost beyond a boss-employee, it almost feels like family with him so I have a lot of respect for him and it’s been a joy for me.”
In retirement, Flowers plans to focus his energies on volunteering, which is something he has done in the past.
“I was on the board of directors for habitat for humanity and my plan is get back on the board and to one of the builds, hopefully, in Haiti next Spring, is my goal,” said Flowers.