Robert Waltz - Facilities Management
Pulse of CCSD – Robert Waltz keeps facilities running smoothly
Due to the size of Charleston County School District (CCSD), so many of its employees are products of the school system – including Robert Waltz who is the Environmental Officer in the Office of Facilities Management.
Immediately following high school, Waltz started his working career in the thermal technologies trade and worked for a local HVAC company.
“I have always been fascinated with air conditioning and how the refrigerant cycle works,” said Waltz. “It’s the closest thing to magic I can think of.”
Waltz was always fascinated with the HVAC realm. As he worked his way up in the industry, he became interested in indoor air quality and other aspects of the profession.
In 2007, Waltz came on with the district as a mechanic in the HVAC shop. He eventually worked his way up to become assistant foreman in the HAVC shop; he took a foreman’s position over the Tiger Team (a rapid response maintenance crew) and now works as the Environmental Officer for CCSD.
"It has been so rewarding to me to watch Robby Waltz progress from a technician to assistant foreman, then foreman, and then to branch officer,” said Ron Kramps, Associate for Facilities Management. “I've given him additional duties since he became a branch officer. It seems there is nothing he can't handle. Robby is an extremely bright and talented individual, but so humble and unassuming. He is one of those rare people with the gifts for understanding both very technical topics and expert management of people and processes.”
Today, Waltz serves the district in three major capacities. He directs the foreman of the HVAC shop, who manages 15 mechanics of varying specialties. He directs the Energy Department that consists of the Utilities Manager who pays all of the districts utility bills and associated fees, schedules fuel oil deliveries, schedules petro deliveries, inputs all associated data, as well as handles p-card purchases for the HVAC Shop. The Building Automation Manager who schedules HVAC equipment and lighting controls across the district, as well as oversees the control maintenance contract. Lastly, Waltz responds to all environmental concerns such as indoor air quality, mold concerns, asbestos, lead, well water, water quality, hazmat and our utility wastewater pond located on the Lincoln campus.
“Being able to ensure that facilities are up to par with the expectations of students, teachers, and the public is rewarding,” said Waltz. “An exceptional learning environment for our students is our goal.”
Waltz knows that providing the highest air quality is important to immune health. He said he can sympathize with allergy sufferers because he is one himself.
“Being able to work through issues such as air quality or suspected mold issues and seeing the relief of having something remediated or repaired reminds me and my team that we can and do make a difference,” said Waltz. “The people in this department are amazing. From upper management, my peers, office personnel and mechanics, the amount of support that I receive from everyone is phenomenal. Everyone chips in to make things work. We’re like a giant family. I am a people person and I like interacting with folks from every level of the district. It is always, forever changing in this line of work. We are continuously learning something new and overcoming challenges together on many different levels.”
The job is never through
“Just because school is out doesn’t mean we’re out,” said Waltz. “When COVID-19 hit, we kept working. We work through all breaks, including the summer and spring break.”
A team of 15 mechanics and shop leaders at varying levels are scheduling, maintaining and repairing over 8,000 pieces of HVAC equipment. That kind of dedication and commitment paid off to the team in the form of receiving the 2020 Award for Decreased Energy Consumption.
“The district hit that goal in 2018 which tells the tale of the people who came before me,’ said Waltz. “We are constantly doing great things. This district is phenomenal.”
Waltz is appreciative of Kramps and the FM team.
“Ron Kramps is one of the best things ever that happened to CCSD’s Office of Facilities Management,” said Waltz. “He stands behind us, and supports our decisions. It’s the same thing with all of my peers and colleagues here. The amount of support we get here is tremendous.”
Kramps is truly one of Waltz’ biggest supporters.
"I've been so fortunate to have this incredibly talented man on the team, poised and ready to jump into positions of great responsibility,” said Kramps. “He receives so few accolades but people like Robby (and I'm blessed with more of them) keep this District running successfully, all behind the scenes with a lot more complaints than there is glamour. I hope many more district employees will come to appreciate just how talented Robby is and grow in appreciation for his steadfast service."
One major project Waltz and the FM team have undertaken is testing the water quality in every district facility. All campuses have been sampled, but some will need to be resampled once the buildings are occupied again to compare against a normal use pattern.
Waltz also admires that CCSD is a leader in Career and Technology Education. Especially as someone who has spent his entire working life in the HVAC trade.
“These type of jobs will always be here,” said Waltz. “The more and more people who want jobs in an office, result in a higher demand to fill positions in the trade fields to take care and maintain those facilities. It has been a fulfilling career for me and I would recommend it to anyone.”
Waltz rarely has personal interactions with students, even though his role supports them in several ways. However, one recent service call to a particular classroom turned into a science lesson for the students.
Waltz responded to C.E. Williams Middle School for an air quality check. The teacher suspected mold. Once Waltz determined no mold was present, Waltz took that opportunity to demonstrate the tools he was using and explained to the students how an infrared camera is used.
“They were mesmerized,” said Waltz. “It is fun to spark an interest in a child. I encouraged the students interested in pursuing the HVAC trade, or something similar, to button down in their science courses and pursue all science related study.”
Waltz said his family are his biggest cheerleaders. Between Robby and Lisa (his childhood sweetheart), they have four children who are in or have attended CCSD schools. Waltz hopes one day one of their children will also choose a job in a trade career.
“My team and I are helping to provide for the kids of Charleston County,” said Waltz. “That’s incredibly fulfilling.”