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Get to know... Bea Karadeema

September 19, 2010
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How did you get your start in the cleaning and maintenance industry?
If you could have seen me in my early years, I was working as a custodian/janitor. I worked through the ranks (crew leader, shift leader, manager, district manager) until I became a regional operations manager and co-owner for Professional Pride Cleaning Services (PPCS).

When PPCS was sold in 1997-98, I went to work for a local residential maid service as a branch manager.

In 2000, I applied for and got the job I have now, Building Services Manager, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL.

Tell us a bit about your duties at the university.
I am the Building Services Manager in the Physical Plant Department.

When I started in 2000, I had a typewriter, an accounting calculator, and a department that had no vision or mission statement nor an instruction manual.

I had 27 custodians, one supervisor and two leads that worked Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on a campus that was busy 24/7/365.

I am proud to say that I now have a computer with the latest technology, a unit vision and mission statement plus two instructional manuals, 31 staff members and we operate on a three-shift schedule so we can accommodate the 24/7/365 traffic.

The university has nearly 5,500 full-time students and our unit is responsible for cleaning approximately 516,000 square feet.

Since my position as manager has become more administrative than hands-on, I create and maintain our unit’s budget, order supplies, design bids and contracts for supplies and oversee daily operational functions of 12 buildings, with the aid of two supervisors and five lead custodians.

What responsibilities are the most challenging?
The responsibilities I find most challenging are keeping morale high, keeping the rumor mill to a minimum, trying to get more of our unit involved with campus functions, and trying to fit in a staff visitation schedule that makes me smile.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is talking with the staff, teaching, coaching, counseling, inspiring and encouraging them to work smarter and not harder, while also learning more about them and their lives outside AUM.

My least favorite part of the job is having to deal with the mounds of paperwork, record-keeping and office processes that consume about 85 percent of my regular work day, instead of visiting with the smiling faces of the Building Services staff.

Tell us a bit about your personal life.
I am 37 years old. I have a wonderful daughter, Noel, who is a senior at Tri County Christian Academy in Prattville, AL.

Noel would like to be a teen counselor, so hopefully she will take advantage of our 50 percent dependent tuition waiver to pursue a degree in psychology at AUM next fall.

My stepdaughter, Amanda, is the mother of our beautiful grandbaby, Zoe, who will be 14 months old in September. We are a very proud granny and poppy.

My husband of 17 years, Ken, works here at AUM in the Housing and Residence Life Department as a maintenance technician.

I attended Penn State University for two years, and now am a senior here at AUM, studying accounting part-time.

I hope to receive my bachelor’s degree in accounting on my birthday in 2008 (December 13, the date of the fall commencement that year).

Before moving to Alabama, I lived in New Kensington, PA, where I met my husband who lived across the river in Natrona. Our families still reside in these two cities.

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