The phone is ringing off the hook and the queue for customer service requests on Sonya Edwards’ computer screen is packed. That’s just how it is on the second day of classes in the Facilities Management Operations Support Center at the College of Charleston.
But Edwards, a dispatcher and customer service representative for Facilities Management, isn’t frazzled.
“This is the busiest time of year,” she says matter-of-factly, adding that graduation and A Charleston Affair, the Alumni Association’s annual spring event, are also busy times.
As one of three dispatchers for Facilities Management, Edwards’ role is part traffic controller and part triage nurse for all things facilities related at the College. And with nine shops within Facilities Management (carpentry, HVAC, lock, maintenance, plumbing, recycling, electrical, custodial, grounds and paint), along with the Central Energy Plant and elevator repair, the type of calls she receives on any given day can run the gamut. Problems can range from a broken air conditioning unit to a student who has dropped a key down a residence hall elevator shaft to a clogged toilet to anything in between. Once, Edwards took a call from someone asking for help to save a squirrel trapped by a cat at Towell Library – and a paint supervisor came to the rodent’s rescue.
Sure the days are long and often the last call of the day leads to another one last call and then another. But, Edwards says, there’s a satisfaction in knowing she and her co-workers have made a difference each day on campus.
“I enjoy helping people and getting their requests done,” says Edwards in a soft Charleston accent. “I enjoy working with my co-workers. Our common goal is to make sure the campus is taken care of. We’ve got to make sure that everything is in working condition before we can even go home at the end of the day.”
Altogether, Edwards, who is a native Charlestonian, has been working at the College for nearly 23 years. She spent 12 years working in Custodial Services. After earning her associate’s degree in human services from Trident Technical College, she switched to her current role in 2007.
And her appreciation for CofC runs deeper than just work. Edwards’ mother, Jeannette Deveaux, graduated from the College in 1984 and her younger brother also attended. Edwards recently enrolled in the College’s Bachelor of Professional Studies program in the School of Professional Studies with a goal of someday working with children.
“I think the College is more of my roots,” she says.
And like roots keep a tree standing tall, Edwards and her colleagues in Facilities Management keep the College running smoothly. Whether a toilet needs to be unclogged, chairs need to be cleaned or a light needs to be repaired, Edwards is there to make sure the right person responds to the job.
“We are the core of the College,” she says. “I truly believe that. We are always behind the scenes making things work.”