Grounds crew employee Vanden Bergh wins state ‘Suggestion’ award

Mark Vanden Bergh, employed since 2007 as a groundskeeper with UW-Green Bay’s Facilities Management division, has received a Certificate of Commendation and a modest cash award for submitting an idea through the Wisconsin Employee Suggestion Program. Vanden Bergh’s better idea helps road crews more easily locate storm drains and avoid damage during winter snow plowing.

The University formerly marked the drains and “draining cutouts” with steel fence posts installed before the ground froze and removed each spring. Often, however, the posts went missing, broke off, or were damaged by snow removal equipment.  Posts that broke off would have to be located and then dug out by hand so as to not cause a trip hazard or damage to mowers the following summer. Also, as Vanden Bergh’s submission noted, the posts tended to slow down snow removal and actually interfere with clearing storm drains.

His suggestion: Paint stripes on the adjacent roadway to cue operators as to drain locations. (How do you see the stripes when the road is covered with snow? Not a problem – clearing drains is a secondary task, normally under taken only when roads are free of ice and snow.) The labor and equipment cost savings are estimated at about $7,000 over five years for Vanden Bergh’s suggestion, which was implemented in November 2009.

Gov. Jim Doyle and Chancellor Thomas Harden signed Vanden Bergh’s certificate for a job well done.

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