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Smooth Air and Blue Skies, Paul Fick

By John Pumilio on May 30, 2014

Today, the Office of Sustainability is saying farewell to a good friend and colleague. Paul Fick, Associate VP for Facilities, is retiring after eight years at Colgate.

Paul has been my direct supervisor since I started in 2009. Under Paul’s leadership, we built and renovated our first LEED certified buildings, we installed our first solar energy project, purchased our first hybrid vehicles, installed our first electric vehicle charging station, and completed a major upgrade of our central utility plant. We approved our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and we were able to reduce our campus-wide energy, water, landfill waste, and paper consumption. Taken together, this amounted to cost savings for the university and a 20 percent reduction off our campus carbon footprint since 2009. Paul will be the first to tell you, however, that these accomplishments are secondary to the Colgate people he shared his journey with.

Personally, I will miss Paul’s good-natured and friendly personality. I will miss our lengthy conversations that sometimes strayed way beyond the proximate issues in front of us. I will miss Paul’s engineering mind and intellectual curiosity. He once made me wait while he calculated the molecular formulas for greenhouse gas emissions. He could not reconcile how emissions factors could be greater than the sum of individual molecules. Only when he worked out the formulas to his satisfaction were we able to move forward with our conversation. It took about 10 minutes.

One of Paul’s true passions is flying. And soon after he received his pilot’s license he took me for a memorable flight over the Chenango Valley. I observed that Paul’s approach to flying was the same for work: at once balancing seriousness with pure enjoyment and attention to detail with an appreciation for the bigger picture.

Paul Fick poses with his plane

Click Image for full slideshow

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Facilities directors and sustainability directors sometimes have strained relationships. But Paul has been a great friend and colleague since the first day I stepped foot on campus. He always made me feel welcome and he always gave my ideas serious attention. As I think about our time together at Colgate, my hope is that someone thinks as highly of me on my final day at Colgate as I think of Paul. Paul has been a great pleasure to work with.

While our professional relationship is coming to a close, I know that we will remain friends. We already have intentions to fly again over the beautiful Colgate campus. So, instead of goodbye, I will hope for smooth air and blue skies so Paul may enjoy many good days of flying (and perhaps take me along for a few of them!).

Enjoy retirement, Paul!

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