UPHS – Marquette Heroes | Robin Mackie

What is your official title? ​ 

Plant Operations Coordinator

What is Plant Ops’ role in the functionality of the hospital?

In short, the Plant Ops team keeps both the new facility and old facility running 24 hours/day. We have an incredible team of talented, high performers that maintain our facilities with skill and efficiency. Anything that has to do with the physical part of our buildings or grounds – that’s us. And it’s a lot. 

What was your inspiration for getting into Plant Ops and how did you end up at UPHS – Marquette?

When I moved to Marquette in 2001 to go to NMU, I didn’t set out to have a career in Plant Operations. After school, I immediately started working as a Project Coordinator for TriMedia. There, I was immersed in the world of Civil Engineering, Industrial Hygiene, Surveying, and Health & Safety. After a few years at TriMedia, I worked for Norlite Nursing Center on the administrative side of things. There, I dove into the fascinating world of healthcare. When this job was posted in late 2017, I knew immediately that the position was tailormade for me. And as the daughter of an OB/GYN RN and a Naval Architect, it is interesting that I ended up in a position that straddles both healthcare and engineering.

How has your role changed with the pandemic?

Interestingly, not too much has changed for Plant Ops. Being prepared is built into our daily objectives, policies, and standard procedures. Our facilities and our team must be prepared for anything at all times, so we are poised to respond quickly and efficiently to whatever comes our way, including a worldwide pandemic. Like the rest of healthcare, everything we do is highly regulated. We are constantly testing, documenting, testing again, performing preventative maintenance, and responding to the incoming daily demands of a very busy hospital. Everything my team is doing to respond to COVID-19 are the things we were already doing every day. 

What is a typical day like for you?

I get in for 7 AM. I usually start by reviewing and prioritizing my demands for the day. My daily game plan must remain flexible as we never know what is going to come our way on any given day. I assist to monitor our robust work order system, field the stream of incoming calls and delegate requests, coordinate with our outside contractors, and assist my director. A big part of my job is my involvement with the Environment of Care (EOC) Committee which encompasses Utility Management, Fire/Life Safety, Hazardous Materials & Waste, Medical Equipment, Employee Health & Wellness, Security, Safety, Emergency Management, Infection Control, and Quality Management. Through EOC, I get to work with and learn from leadership across all disciplines. I help run Code Red drills, am a member of the Code Orange Team, am the Employee Relations Committee (ERC) rep and Secretary, and recently took over Signage. I’m also the presenter for Fire/Life Safety for all new employees at hospital orientation – I love that I get to be a small part of developing first impressions of UPHS-Marquette. Though I thrive in routine, no two days are the same in the shop and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

What are some of your interests outside of work?

My interests have evolved in the last few years. In the fall of 2018, I decided to set some big goals – to be physically, mentally, and financially “OK” by the time I hit 40 (I’m currently 37). After I made the decision to go after those goals, I took another job, started tracking what I eat, started practicing gratitude, and shifted my focus and energy one day, and one decision at a time with the long game in mind. Through diet and exercise, I’ve lost 95 lbs and have maintained that loss for over a year. It turns out that being fit, happy, and healthy is really hard work! But totally worth it. Working two jobs doesn’t allow for much free time but I love to run, bike, explore the wild UP, sit by a fire, go to the gym, be near the water, see live music, listen to tons of podcasts, stay informed on current events, politics, and pop culture, practice the bass guitar, follow Tigers Baseball and Michigan Football (Go Blue!), and soak up everything that Marquette and the UP offers to us locals year-round. Lately, I’ve been dabbling in meditation and I love to explore psychology, mental health, philosophy, spirituality, and other intellectual pursuits.

What is your favorite part about working at UPHS – Marquette?

My favorite part about working here in this position is that I get to interact with each and every one of my teammates. My job touches on literally every inch of both facilities, grounds, outside clinics, and hospital-owned properties. Because of this, I am uniquely positioned to be exposed to all facets of the organization. Customer service is my jam. I love it. I’m mostly an extrovert and being around people energizes and inspires me. Sometimes, I’m convinced that I have the coolest position in the entire system. I’m obsessed with my job, my Director is the greatest mentor and leader on the planet, and I get to spend every day with the best group of guys in a brand new shop, learning brand new systems. I’m dedicated to learning everything I can from the skilled experts around me and after 2½ years, I feel like I’m still just getting my toes wet. Thank you for giving me the platform to express my gratitude! 

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