Newswise — A facilities manager does more than just make sure the pipes are fixed and floors are clean.

The job encompasses a vast array of responsibilities to ensure that a building functions in concert with the mission of its occupant, and The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center employs one of the best facilities managers in the world.

Stewart Livsie, manager of maintenance and construction at UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, was recently named by the International Facility Management Association as one of its top 40 facilities managers under 40 years old for 2020.

“Before coming into the world of facilities management, I had no idea how multi-faceted the profession was,” Livsie says. “Like many others, if someone had told me they were a facility manager, I would have assumed that they simply took care of the maintenance or custodial services of a building. It goes without saying that an FM [facility manager] is so much more than that.”

Livsie explains that the profession touches every facet of an organization’s ability to achieve its mission, from leadership, capital and asset management, to human factors and productivity. “And especially in the era of COVID-19,” he says, “the basic health and safety of the occupants of our buildings.”

For a facility like the UNM Cancer Center, securing the health and safety of the patients, staff and providers in the building took on a new challenge during the coronavirus pandemic.

Livsie’s leadership helped ensure that the UNM Cancer Center remained open during the pandemic by securing materials and hospital-grade cleaning products and by hiring more staff to guarantee that the Center, from common areas to clinical rooms, was frequently deep cleaned.

The work also included securing personal protective equipment at a time when it was in high demand, which meant creating partnerships with outside entities to ensure continued availability.

Livsie also secured new infrared thermography scanners (thermometers) for each entrance to the building so people coming into the UNM Cancer Center can get screened for potential symptoms, including fevers.

He also implemented a system utilizing Adenosine Triphosphate tests to verify the cleanliness of high-touch areas in the facility.

Livsie’s daily responsibilities include maintaining biomedical equipment, hazardous materials and waste management, food and nutrition services, security, emergency management, safety and many other areas.

His responsibilities actually extend to two buildings: the 206,000-square-foot UNM Cancer Treatment and Clinical Research facility, and the UNM Cancer Research Facility, a separate five-story building where cutting-edge cancer research takes place. Livsie often finds himself managing new technologies and treatments that can add or alter the demands on the building itself.

In coming aboard the UNM Cancer Center in 2013, Livsie brought with him experience in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He applied what he learned from corrective and preventive maintenance on a ship to the complex environment of one of only 51 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in the nation.

Two years into Livsie’s career at the UNM Cancer Center, work began on expanding the Center’s fourth-floor chemotherapy unit and the expansion of the clinic into the second floor of the building. Livsie helped lead the project through emergency repairs from a water leak and corrective actions required for code compliance to meet federal and state standards. 

“Without a team of true partners and win-win relationships, even the most knowledgeable and talented individuals will fail,” he says. “Never stop reinventing yourself. Never think that you are done learning, and always thirst for new knowledge or a better way to do things.”

Livsie is solely responsible for the UNM Cancer Center’s compliance with The Joint Commission’s Environment of Care and Life Safety measures, as well as the New Mexico Department of Health’s regulations.

“I had never previously considered a career in FM, let alone in the healthcare industry,” Livsie says, “but the broad scope of responsibilities, and the mission of the organization especially resonated with me.”

Ensuring that the building helps the UNM Cancer Center to deliver the best possible care is of paramount importance, Livsie adds.

“I am passionate about optimizing healthcare facilities management and the built environment,” he says. “What happens behind the scenes to make a seamless patient experience possible is in many ways, just as important as what happens on the front line every day.  While I may not be directly treating patients, I know that the results of my team’s successes or failures can make the experience of a patient going through unimaginable hardship somewhat better, or infinitely worse.”