Alishia Jolivette-Webber, officer of facilities, maintenance and operations for the Houston Independent School District, explains how Hurricane Harvey helped her prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic and why more women should consider a career in facilities management.
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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities managers have had to stay on top of maintaining their operations. While regularly shifting to stay on top of new regulations and protocols, these people have had to carry the weight of keeping people safe when the world opened back up.
Building Operating Management advisory board member Alishia Jolivette-Webber, officer of facilities, maintenance and operations for the Houston Independent School District, knows what it means to protect people. Deep in the trenches of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, it was up to Jolivette-Webber and her staff to keep the district up and running. She and her team were forced to stay in one of the school buildings for seven days because of the storm, but being able to witness the damage, they were able to determine what needed to be fixed first. Because of the hurricane, Jolivette-Webber was able to create a task force and now has a risk plan in place in case of another extreme weather event.
While Texas has been hit with other weather events, including a winter storm, the pandemic was a different kind of disaster. Still, it was facility managers that had boots to the ground in order to best protect the school district.
I think going through Hurricane Harvey and being able to breathe through that helped me prepare for this pandemic. We wanted to make sure that once the students came back that they would be safe, and this [school] was one of the safer places to be.Alishia Jolivette-Webber
BOM assistant editor Mackenna Moralez interviewed Jolivette-Webber to discuss how she was able to navigate extreme weather events and a global pandemic and why more women should consider a career in facilities management.