To step into Concordia’s plumbing department is to step into a foreign culture where the language spoken is one of acronyms like HVAC and the typical attire includes steel-toed boots.
Small, plastic drawers colored with different shades of blue line two walls from top to bottom, each with a faded label designating its contents. A workbench sits in the center of the room, frequently surrounded by plumbing and electric personnel.
Directly to the right is the plumbing office, its door usually propped open. Though it is the plumbing department headquarters, its personnel will most likely be out servicing different areas of campus.
Concordia may not be the biggest college in the area, but with 42 buildings and over 100 acres of land, it may come as a surprise that the plumbing department at Concordia is a two-man shop.
Paul King, plumbing department supervisor, and Ron Sauvageau, welder/fabricator, comprise this duo. They use their expertise of the campus and shared knowledge to keep the bowels of the campus operating smoothly.
King and Sauvageau have worked together for 13 years, since King first came to Concordia in 2000.
Although Sauvageau is not a licensed plumber, he assists King on many jobs that require more than one person.
King said he and Sauvageau work together about half the time.
“We work really well together,” he said.
Sauvageau said he has learned a lot about plumbing from working with King, who said the same thing about Savageau.
Wayne Flack, facilities management director, said that King is a good trade supervisor for many reasons, one of them being the way he teaches others about his work.
“(Paul is) willing to share his knowledge,” Flack said.
For a better idea of how much area King and Sauvageau have to cover in their work, Flack said that, without the land, about 700 average-sized houses could fit onto Concordia’s campus. King and Sauvageau maintain its entirety, along with miles of piping in underground tunnels that are spread throughout campus.
“That becomes a challenge,” Flack said.
Sauvaugeau said that the two of them meet this challenge with the help of King’s straightforward work ethic. If there is a problem that needs attention, the team takes care of it to the best of their ability.
Flack agreed, saying that King is an effective supervisor.
“Paul is just a no nonsense, get it done, supervisor,” he said. “(He) would much rather be taking care of things than talking about taking care of things.”
Because the plumbing department is so small, other trade departments, such as electrical and heating and cooling personnel, will sometimes aid King and Sauvageau in projects they are working on.
“We have a great support within the trades that enables us to do what we do with such a small shop,” King said.
King said he has gotten to know other facilities management personnel well during his time at Concordia.
“I would consider all my coworkers my friends,” he said.
Aubrey is a junior from Minneapolis, MN. She is a Multimedia Journalism major and German minor. Some of Aubrey’s favorite activities include writing, reading, coloring in Disney coloring books, and spending time with her family, friends, and her dog. Aside from being a news writer for the Concordian, Aubrey plays violin in the Concordia Orchestra and leads a Bible study with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ.)