23, No. 18, April 22, 2004
On the job: Randy Greever
John Loos, Student Intern
by Bill Wiegand
is the chief building operation engineer at Krannert
Center for the Performing Arts.
in a house that’s as old as Millard Fillmore’s presidency,
the owner has to be ready to fix just about anything. Randy Greever,
the chief building operation engineer at the Krannert Center for the
Performing Arts since 1998, has been updating and restoring his 154-year-old
home for almost a decade. Fortunately, building maintenance is second
nature to the man in charge of fixing just about everything in and between
Krannert’s four sizeable theaters. After managing a structure
that spans two city blocks and hosts thousands of visitors a day, Greever
finds working on his home almost like a vacation.
Tell me what your job encompasses.
Actually, I’m in charge of all the maintenance of the entire building.
I either physically do it myself or I coordinate outside sources like
(Planning, Construction and Maintenance) who come in to do work. I make
sure the building is functioning safely. Most places on campus don’t
have people like me. Most of them are handled through (PCM). I’m
one of the few left that is still in-house.
What sort of tasks do you encounter?
On a daily basis it’s normally (regulating) temperatures in buildings.
Too hot, too cold. We have huge spaces. We have four theaters. So, on
a daily basis, it’s temperature control. I have a mechanical room
bigger than most people’s houses. Other than that, it’s
whatever the phone calls that come in tell me, because I take care of
everything from the doors to the door locks to the floors to the walls
to the ceilings. Even the filing cabinets and the desks. If they break,
people call me.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day is a lot of meetings. I check my phones and e-mail. I
get work orders through e-mail and it can be anything as simple as a
broken keyboard tray to a steam valve in a mechanical room that has
exploded causing a theater to run at 100 degrees. Or, someone has locked
their keys in a file cabinet and I have to pick the lock. It’s
such a variety. It sounds silly, but when I say we fix everything, we
What’s the biggest challenge of your
I’d say the biggest challenge is customer relationships because
I deal with everyone in the building and a lot of people outside of
the building. And I wouldn’t call it ‘challenging,’
but if you don’t have the right personality for the job, I don’t
care how smart you are, you can’t do it. You have to be able to
deal with people. You’re looking at hundreds of employees here.
I actually come in contact with and talk to about 50 or 60 people a
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Same thing, the people. The people here are great. I’ve worked
at a lot of places and the people here are good to work with. They’re
almost always happy. Very rarely do I get any grouchy or complaining
people. So yeah, I like the people I work with and the people I work
Are there any particular problems unique to
maintaining a theater?
Probably. Again, because of the amount of people, we can have problems
maintaining temperature and outside air control. Like the Great Hall
– that alone can hold 2,100 people. And then there are four other
theaters that hold 1,200 people, 800 people, 400 people. … We
can have three shows going at once and the lobby and the fresh-air control
has to be able to handle that. We’ve done a lot of work this past
summer to update our air handlers. I’d say that’s the only
unique thing, the amount of people that are in here at one time. Do
you have any outside interests or hobbies?
Actually, yes. I love to fish. I have a nice little bass boat. I play
a little golf. And it seems like my house has become a hobby. I have
a 150-year-old house and for nine years I’ve been working on it
and I’ve about got it finished. This summer I’ll finish
it. At one time it was a small hotel. I have the original schematics.
It was built in 1850 by a lawyer in Urbana as a summer vacation home.
And, you know, 12 miles away by buggy was a long way in 1850. So I have
the whole history of the house; it’s kind of cool.
What kind of upkeep have you had to do with your house?
That house originally didn’t have plumbing or electricity. Now
when I got it, it had it, but didn’t have any heat ducts upstairs
and it didn’t have any insulation. Unfortunately a lot of the
cool stuff in an old home had been removed, so I put in the original
base boards, the crown molding, put in new floors, furnaces …
I updated it and made it modern as well as put all the old woodwork
back into it. It has large arches going from door to door. It’s
kind of cool.