After 45 years, Jordan is still chilling (and heating) at UAB

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rep victor jordan build 550pxPhoto by IAN LOGUE | Creative and MarketingIn 1978, when Victor Jordan was hired as an HVAC technician, workers were putting the finishing touches on University College Building No. 5, which would soon be renamed Campbell Hall, and the nine-year-old university was much smaller than it is now. But Alabama summers were still hot and its winters were still cold, and heating and air technicians had plenty to do to stay ahead of them.

“Our customers are usually not aware of what goes on in the background that keeps our buildings comfortable and functional in an efficient manner,” said Jordan, an Instrument and Control Technician in the Energy Management department of UAB Facilities. He is one of three employees who will be honored for 45 years of service to UAB on April 10.

“With the wide variety and quantity of heating and cooling systems we have, there is always the issue of maintenance and repair,” Jordan said. He helps oversee the Siemens Building Automation systems that now monitor the university’s connected buildings. Some days that involves working at a computer terminal, while “others could be spent assisting our field technicians with HVAC issues anywhere on — and sometimes off — campus,” he said.

When Jordan started work in January 1978, “building temperature controls were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are today,” he said. “If a customer did not call with a comfort complaint, you had to walk your assigned buildings and do scheduled preventive maintenance on equipment as well as deal with occasional breakdowns.” UAB was much smaller then, but already had reached considerable size: 63 blocks and 160 buildings, Jordan said. And he has worked on most of them. “Over the years I have been able to work throughout campus in different assigned areas and develop an extensive knowledge of our facilities.” There have always been some problem buildings that require more than their share of service work, “and I got to see some of them go away,” he added.

As building technologies advanced, Facilities formed a new team of Instrument and Control Technicians in 2009, and Jordan “was offered an opportunity to join,” he said. “Computers have massively altered the way we do things.”

That isn’t the only shakeup. “The changes I have seen with the growth of the university are impressive,” Jordan said. “The Southside skyline has changed so much, and there is much more yet to come. Our campus community has become much more diverse over the years, and it’s quite interesting to work with so many different cultures.”

One final question for Jordan, the one that younger employees always have for those who have stuck with UAB for a whole career: What was it that made you stay? “I always enjoyed working with my hands and learning to do different things,” Jordan said. “Here I was blessed with the opportunity to do just that, and it’s rewarding to get to share those experiences with my co-workers and especially the new hires coming on board. Someday I’m going to have the privilege say one last time, ‘It was working when I left it.’”

Until then, thanks for sweating the details so the rest of us don’t have to.