For some, the summer of 2017 might mean an opportunity for a long vacation. For Forrest Rose, the summer season means something entirely different.
“This summer is the summer of pipettes,” says Rose, this year’s recipient of the Yeworkwha Belachew (YB) Staff Award.
While classes are not in session, Rose will manage the calibration of 375 pipettes for the biology and neuroscience departments. Along with that, he’ll oversee the repair of broken microscopes while also fulfilling his typical duties of helping faculty purchase equipment, coordinating equipment demos, securing price quotes, scheduling classroom space, and managing his direct reports. And that’s just what he does in his role as facilities manager for the biology and neuroscience departments. Rose also acts as the building manager for the Science Center, in which he serves as a liaison for the building and the facilities departments.
This degree of commitment to service is one reason Rose was honored with the YB Staff Award.
The YB award is given annually to an Oberlin College staff member who has “gone above and beyond in service to the college.” The award is named in honor of the extraordinary service of former Ombudsperson Yeworkwha Belachew. The recipient is nominated by Oberlin staff members and was designed to recognize a non-faculty, institutional employee of the college or conservatory who demonstrates daily commitment and performance in advancing the college's strategic goals, through exemplary service to the college.
For Rose, there is no typical day, and he’s always on call to ensure things run smoothly in the Science Center. “Last fall, I got a 1:30 a.m. call from Safety and Security that one of the alarms in a Science Center freezer was going off. That often means the freezer is going to die, so I came in to make sure all of the items in the freezer were relocated. I was here until about 4:30 a.m. because, to many of these faculty members, the items in the freezers are not just ‘stuff.’ They’re entire research projects. Losing that would be devastating.”
Rose began his role at Oberlin in July 2006 in the Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching. He was hired into his current position in 2013. And while Rose admits an interest in both science and management of resources, what he enjoys most about his role is the people with whom he interacts. “There are a lot of good people who work here. I think that’s my favorite aspect of the job.”
For the staff member of nearly eleven years, receiving the award means a great deal. “The biggest thing for me is knowing there are many people who think so highly of me that they would nominate me for the award. Having colleagues who recognize that means a lot.”
What a few colleagues say about Rose:
“Forrest is the consummate Building Manager. He audits his buildings daily, places work orders for items in need of repair or attention and follows these items through to completion. He always communicates building issues to all affected staff so that everyone is aware and can plan accordingly.” - Claudia Ferrini
“Forrest always puts his job first. He is tireless in his efforts to maintain the integrity of the facility so that the faculty and staff and students can go about their daily business in a safe and comfortable manner. He never settles for any work order or job to be incomplete or incorrect.” - Dorothy Auble
“Forrest has consistently gone above and beyond in all roles he has taken at the college. He is often working late, answering email or coming in on weekends, and scheduling vacation around everyone else’s needs. He has amazing attention to detail, is very organized and always prepared." - Leslie Joseph
“Forrest is constantly on call days, nights, and weekends for problems in the Science Center. He gives 100 percent to keep this place going - which is no easy task. He's a wonderful supervisor to his support staff here. He keeps them informed and makes them feel appreciated and valued.” - Twila Colley
“Forrest never says "no." In fact, he says "yes" way too often. We sometimes have to tell him to go home because he is, yet again, working. But we are usually glad that he is staying because he is usually fixing some critical problem for the rest of us.” - Keith Tarvin