Name: Michael Turner
Hometown: Charleston, S.C. … I grew up on James Island
Education: I started out in graphic design and historic preservation at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I then transferred to the University of Georgia, receiving a B.F.A. in commercial interior design.
Job title: Director of Facilities Planning
How long have you worked at the College? 18 years. I started in residence life and housing, then to business affairs, then to procurement and now facilities planning.
What are your job responsibilities? I direct the College’s space management program for short- and long-term needs, collaboratively develop long-term facilities improvement plans, and prepare documentation required for state-level reports and approvals. Our office develops and maintains institutional design standards and the College’s digital collection of over 11,000 building drawings. My team administers the campus Integrated Work Management System (AiM), a unified system of record for space management, capital planning, facilities condition assessment, utility management, operations and maintenance management, key and access management and contract administration. That’s the nutshell version. More information is available at facilitiesplanning.cofc.edu.
What do you like most about your job? I enjoy working with campus stakeholders involved in the planning process of a renovation or construction project. Working with colleagues in vastly different fields is enlightening. It keeps me flexible, and I’m always learning something new. No one person has all the answers to creating a perfect space, so I value feedback of the various professionals within and outside of the College that enable a project to be successful. I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way.
What question do you get asked most in your job and what’s your typical answer? ARE YOU INSANE?! The correct answer is, “Almost … give it another week.”
What’s your favorite location on campus and why? The latest renovated campus space, because of the smiles generated by occupants as you have improved their working, living or learning environments.
What are your hobbies? I mostly enjoy home improvement projects and gardening. I call it “yard therapy.” Lately, I completed a new deck, boardwalks and a privacy fence for our backyard. Next on the list is the boardwalk for our bamboo garden and repainting the exterior of the house. The work and expenses never seem to end. I also enjoy traveling – not so much the flying, driving, etc., but the destinations and exploration. If cultural food and drinks are involved, that’s a bonus.
What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? I was hired for this position based upon my qualifications through a fair, transparent, external search process … no special favors or connections!
Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why? Planet Earth II on BBC One, hosted by Sir David Attenborough, had me mesmerized. It took five years to develop. The high-definition camera work and closeups of animals in candid moments blew my mind. I understand a sequel is in the works with even more technological advances.
What was your favorite TV show growing up? The Addams Family. I wanted to live just like them in an eccentric house with a pet lion, carnivorous plants, dynamite, a foghorn doorbell, a “Thing,” and Cousin Itt. My favorite was Wednesday’s headless Marie Antionette doll. I loved the idea of shocking visitors and watching them flee from my home. It’s still slightly appealing.
What’s next on your bucket list? A vaccination for COVID-19! Isn’t it interesting how quickly your priorities can change? Normally I would say travel, perhaps revisiting Italy, Austria or Switzerland. Right now, I’d settle for a trip to CVS.
What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? I grew up wanting to become an automotive designer. Starting probably at age 6 or 7, I sketched lots of aerodynamic, futuristic hovercraft cars. However, at the time, the only place to study was in Detroit. I’m not a cold weather kind of guy.
What was your first job? My first real job was selling shoes at The Shoe Store in St. Andrews Shopping Center. I had to get a work permit because I was 15 years old at the time.
What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? Hank’s – great food, and that special splurge to celebrate our wedding anniversary each year.
Describe your perfect day. I’m open to adventure, but it must involve nice weather, outdoors, family, snuggling with my three dogs, front porch tequila, chocolate and ice cream.
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