Robin Myers picture

Robin Myers is the Facility Records Manager on the Facility Information Systems Team / Facility Records within Denver Public Schools' Planning, Design, and Construction Department.

Robin Myers pictureHello Robin, thank you for speaking with us today in honor of Women’s History Month. We are excited to get to know you and learn more about your 30+ years in the district.

You currently work as the Facility Records Manager for the Facility Information Systems Team / Facility Records – and you manage the Facility Records for the district, including overseeing the TRIRIGA database locations table – can you explain for our readers a little bit more about what that work looks like on a day to day basis? How does facility record keeping improve our schools?

Our group manages and maintains the district’s blueprints and location information. About 4-5 years ago, we completed scans of all blueprints (record documents, as of today approximately 550,000 files) and now work completely with electronic plans. These plans are from all types of projects that are done at our buildings; from New Builds, Renovations, Remodels and Upgrades – just to name a few. With a district of 186 owned buildings, 8 leased buildings, and programs with 20 owned and leased buildings, it’s a lot of plans.

We pull information from these record documents, upload it into the IWMS system (integrated workplace management system) the TRIRIGA database, and associate the information records with electronic CAD files (floor plans).

Users are then able to see and share reports, graphics, and other types of information with entities working with the district or in the district. The IWMS system is constantly changing, a live database.

An example of how we use this data is: When the district went into COVID mode, one of our primary areas of focus were sufficient and safe nursing areas. We were able to provide information based on nursing stations- we could locate and show where they were located in the buildings- if buildings didn’t have a designated nurse station we could identify this. We could easily identify if they had restrooms within, next to, or adjacent to the nursing stations. This helped the construction teams quickly assess the district and know which buildings needed renovations, which buildings needed to shuffle rooms to make it work, etc…

We’ve also been able to provide information for the current Master Planning Project. Basically, we provide the foundation base information as it pertains to current and future growth of the district. I can share a comment that came from the company doing the Master Planning, (not sure of the exact words, but they were so kind in telling me they have worked with many large corporations and groups, and they shared what a nice surprise it is to have information so well organized and up to date, and how much they appreciated what we had to share, that it would make their jobs so much easier.)

I have made a great career with the district doing what we do with my drafting skills and wouldn’t change a thing.

You studied on a grant for women in non-traditional fields at Emily Griffith, and you began your career with DPS 30+ years ago, what sort of changes have you witnessed in that time? Both in the architectural field as a whole, and with diversity in the field?

Yes. When I decided to go back to school (I had a 3 year old and an 18 month old at the time) I looked into Emily Griffith. They offered grants to women who were interested in moving into non-traditional fields for women. After taking an aptitude test, I was given choices and I chose drafting. I thought “I am good at drawing!” and took the plunge, thinking it would be a good transition.

I enrolled into a 2 year program to become a civil drafter thinking it could be fun to do landscaping. But after the first semester, I found I was pretty good with mechanical drafting so I completed my degree in Mechanical. Also, understand when I first started, it was all old school drafting on a giant board, and you had to learn how to draw constant lines, block letters, etc. Then, halfway through my program, the drafting program was dropped and the AutoCAD program was coming on board. I was very lucky that the grant program allowed me to finish with the AutoCAD.

I started on DOS and you had to do all the calculations, finding your longitude and latitude points and type out your commands versus picking an icon like today. Then when AutoCAD moved to Windows, life became so much easier. Built-in commands, icons, and a system aware of longitude and latitude helped us immensely and resulted in more efficiency and speed.

Once I was close to finishing my degree, the district was starting their first FM system (Facility Management), it was called Archibus. They were looking to hire part-time folks to help gather and create files to launch the Archibus system. I was part of this team.

We took plans and created basic floor plans electronically and added basic information into the system. I did this for about three years after I graduated. Once this was finished, I wanted to stay with the district and found myself as a clerk at Marrama Elementary for the next five years.

Then one day Facilities and Operations reached out as they were going to build the system out even more, and I came back to help build this next phase out. I’ve been here ever since and feel so blessed to have been able to continue to build this out. Over the years, I’ve been told at conferences and outside entities that Denver Public Schools is blazing new trails. We’ve done many demos for other districts, universities, etc…

Today drafting is no longer considered a non-traditional field. I guess I was lucky to have learned to do drafting on a board as well as electronically with a computer. I believe they call the degree “Engineering Graphics” for a drafter now. Kind of sounds cooler than ‘Drafter’, right?!? Haha

I have made a great career with the district doing what we do with my drafting skills and wouldn’t change a thing. I only hope my co-worker gets the same opportunity I was given to make a difference doing what he loves as I feel I did.

…our district has worked for decades to make sure we are educating all students, bringing diversity and equity. It is one of our core values.

You mentioned you have done some work on the facility conditions side of things – like the facility condition assessment program that you worked on prior to the 2020 bond, what does that look like?

In 2019 the district was looking to do a full Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) for all buildings in the district. It was a project to help create a foundation for information to support, track and guide us in life cycles of equipment, assets, building maintenance, etc… At the last minute some changes happened and I was asked if I could become the project manager for the FCA.

I had never done anything like that before, but I had strong leadership and they felt my knowledge, skills, and dedication was what they needed to complete a successful project. I had plenty of support and our contractors were the best. They were really knowledgeable and the general contractor was so great to work with and learn a few things from.

The project originally was supposed to be a 24 month project, but once we started receiving data, and it was what we were looking for, decisions were made to move the deadline up along with the agreement from the contractor, and we successfully completed the project in 19 months. We were then able to use the information to build the capital planning groups that then built the successful 2020 bond now in progress.

We have been working for the last three years with the same contractors to continue to gather FCA information and update the buildings to include any work that is being done in this bond. The new information will be used to help the new capital planning groups for the 2024 plans.

We (Facility Records) have been assisting with information, scheduling, and working with the contractors to collect completed information from the current FCA project.

Does equity play a part in the work you do for bond projects? (For example: are contractors hired with this in mind?)

The district keeps equity in mind when we work on making sure learning spaces provide the best environment possible for our students and employees.

Within our Planning, Design and Construction office, we have the Office of Business Diversity group, and they go above and beyond to make sure the district is meeting and exceeding the equity requirements. The Director, Murugan Palani, recently invited me to a Native American Gala where students were being awarded scholarships. It was a fun night, and a great way to recognize and honor my Cherokee heritage. The Office of Business Diversity is always looking for ways to celebrate diversity.

I think this is only natural too, our district has worked for decades to make sure we are educating all students, bringing diversity and equity. It is one of our core values.

I believe that everyone has something to contribute which is what makes the successes in the district the best, we don’t make those successes alone.

What is your favorite part of your work day?

My favorite part of my day and my career is that it’s never the same, something is always changing or new! The beauty of what we do is being able to see what works, while remaining open to change. As times change, we can change along with them and continue to grow in the process.

We are a silent entity as collaboration with others makes our changes a success. And, maybe we don’t get to be in front of students, but I believe we help maintain the atmosphere and when needed we can provide that information to help continue to grow and better our district.

I’ve always loved the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, and we are definitely part of that village. Over my 30+ years, I have worked with and met some really great people who all have the same goal, and that’s to create a learning environment for students to succeed in, whatever their part may be.

You are planning on retiring soon… Can you share what you are most excited about?

I’m excited about starting a new chapter in my life. I will be able to sit back and see all the successes we all created and my biggest hope is that I have passed on skills, knowledge and opportunities to our younger generation and future generations to succeed as I have. It is definitely rewarding to be able to do what I have done, and I would hope to see those opportunities to be there for decades to come.

I believe that everyone has something to contribute which is what makes the successes in the district the best, we don’t make those successes alone.

I think I will miss all of my coworkers and friends that I get to see on a daily basis, but I am sure we will keep in contact. I have done the work for so long including creating, growing and building the Facility Records team over the years, I am sure I will miss this from time to time too.

Thank you for your time today Robin!

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