On the Front Lines: UMB Champions of Excellence: Pamela Crowe, MS
Director of facilities and laboratory services has kept the School of Pharmacy’s building operations running smoothly while aiding UMB’s response and recovery efforts during the pandemic.
By Mary Therese Phelan
January 21, 2021
Editor’s Note: The Champions of Excellence campaign is a multiyear branding campaign at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in which we highlight individuals and teams that exemplify extraordinary accomplishment and represent excellence at the University. In 2020-21, UMB is highlighting the employees who’ve done exemplary work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and The Elm will be featuring these UMB Champions, who are making Baltimore, our region, and in some cases the world a better place.
How does one go about managing a professional school’s on-site facilities and research needs during a pandemic while mostly working from home? Pamela Crowe, MS, knows it’s not easy but also not impossible.
In her role as director of facilities and laboratory services at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP), Crowe is responsible for building maintenance and security, environmental services, construction project management, laboratory safety, scientific equipment maintenance, sustainability, and supply procurement.
“Pam balanced telework with being on campus to ensure the continued operation of buildings such as Pharmacy Hall, Pharmacy Learning Center, and the school’s areas in Health Sciences Research Facility II [HSFII] and the Saratoga Building, home of the Maryland Poison Center,” Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, wrote in her University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Champions of Excellence nomination.
Crowe facilitated the continued delivery of packages and supplies; coordinated the pickup of critical items hastily left in offices and lockers in March by faculty, staff, and students; and ensured the continuity of renovation and maintenance projects, but her work doesn’t end there.
She also is a member of UMSOP’s Administrative Board, which meets virtually each week to manage the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the school and its mission areas of education, practice, research, and community service. She is a member of the UMB Recovery Task Force’s Campus Operations group, which meets virtually every other week, and served on the Incident Management Team that coordinated the University’s initial emergency response to the pandemic.
When Phase 1 of UMB’s return to research was announced in July, Crowe ensured that scientific laboratories and other spaces in Pharmacy Hall and HSFII were prepared and safe for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. She also worked with UMB’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs to produce signs reminding faculty, staff, and students about guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, and frequent hand washing, as well as capacity limits for bathrooms, elevators, and common areas. She personally installed all of the signs on UMSOP’s research floors in HSFII, as well as on the first floor of Pharmacy Hall, in advance of the researchers’ return.
Crowe said she visits campus weekly so she can check on things firsthand.
“I like to walk around the buildings and labs to see if everything is OK. I don’t think I’d be as comfortable if I was exclusively at home. I love my job — it’s fun and interesting,” said Crowe, who doesn’t like being the center of attention and reacted with humility upon learning of her Champions of Excellence honor.
“I’m doing what my counterparts are doing. I just happened to be the one called out for it,” she said, citing her facilities colleagues at the other UMB professional schools. “We’re all doing the same thing essentially, making sure that things continue to run, that we communicate with facilities management, and that we coordinate the needs of the occupants in the buildings.”