Director of Facilities Has Plans for Improvement

Rebecca Krueger, Staff Writer

In Nelson Oliveira’s, the new Director of Facilities and Construction, office there are boxes on the floor pushed against the wall, construction and electrical manuals, a small assortment of colorful neckties and paint and floor samples that occupy the otherwise empty shelves.

It’s been three years since GCC has had a director of facilities, besides Dan Padilla who was interim director of facilities for the ‘11 to ’12 school year. Oliveira’s first day at the college was September 24.

“We [facilities and construction department] are responsible for anything that you consider apart of the college’s environment,” said Oliveira regarding his job entitlements. “Everything that you can think about from the carpet, or the floor, all the way up to the ceiling, and the equipment behind the scenes.”

Oliveira had over 20 years of experience in the facilities department primarily focusing on hospitals. He has worked at the Memorial Hospital of Gardena and the White Memorial Medical Center as their director of facilities.

“Nelson has overseen multiple construction projects in his career which will be important as we begin construction of our Lab and College Services building,” wrote Ron Nakasone, vice president of administrative services, in an e-mail to the faculty and staff of GCC. “Nelson also has experience as a Safety Officer and managing Environmental Services which will help protect the College.”

Considering it has been three years since GCC has had a Director of Facilities one would imagine that there is a lot of work to be done to the campus, but Oliveira doesn’t complain.

“We have an opportunity to improve,” said Oliveira. “We have plenty to do for the next year leading into the next 5 years.”

Oliveira is currently working on the construction of the new Lab and College Services building as well as the new Server Upgrade project.

It is Oliveira’s job to facilitate the construction of the upcoming lab and college services building and is currently going through a, “critical phase of the project where integration of construction knowledge and conceptual design needs to be aligned,” wrote Oliveira in an e-mail.

The new building is going to be a three story teaching facility and will be supported by the second power plant. The contractor for the development of the building remains undecided, and a timeline for manufacturing the new building is currently being created, “to identify any obstacles to prevent future errors, delays and additional costs,” according to Oliveira.

The design approval for the Server Upgrade project is in the final phase with the Division of the State Architect (DSA). Oliveira’s main objective is to install a new generator so servers will always be available to students and faculty, even in the event of a power outage or any other situations where a emergency power supply is needed.

“In case of power outage, the transfer switch within the electrical panel will sense the void and will command the backup generator to start,” according to Oliveira. “This project will be important to improve the reliability and structure of our Information Technology Department.”

The funding for GCC’S construction projects have already been taken care of, but the college is still in a deficit. When asked about budget concerns and weather or not Proposition 30 will pass Oliveira replied, “Proposition 30 affects everybody especially my job. Certain funds that have been permitted won’t change, like construction will move forward, but if we don’t have relief from government to help maintain the college grounds it will be really difficult. Because we might face reduction of labor to the services that we need.”

Oliveira has many job requirements to fulfill and it is a lot of responsibility but he has worked harder to get here.

He was born into the middle class of San Paulo, Brazil. Receiving his BA in brazil he moved to California in 1985 to earn his Masters, where he also learned english as a second language at the Evans Adult Community School in Chinatown.

“The transition from being an outsider before being integrated is a cultural shock that we [immigrants] go through,” said Oliveira. “It was not too difficult for me because I came as a student and flowed into the professional field in a planned manner.”

Even though Oliveira doesn’t admit any sorrows or worry he did concede being home sick a lot while he was adjusting to the new country.

‘It is most important for a person who came from overseas to get themselves integrated with the society, not isolating themselves in their own cultural clusters,’ said Oliveira. “You need to have a sense of belonging to the society, where you a participating in the community. It’s difficult, some people give up in the process.”

Since he has moved to the United States he has traveled to 26 different states, and admitted to traveling extensively when he lived in Brazil.

“I like to travel,” said Oliveira, “I like to go to Napa Valley a lot, and San Francisco as well as San Diego.”

He has driven from California to Delaware with his wife for his step brother’s graduation from Delaware’s State University.

“Instead of taking an airplane we decided to take a vacation and drive through the different states, making some stops along the way,” said Oliveira the explorer.

He wants to travel to Europe and to see the Amazon but when an opportunity for vacation arises he returns home to San Paulo.

“We go to see my mom, who is still in Brazil,” said Oliveira. “She is 82 years old now so I try to take advantage of the time while she is still with us.”

Oliveira also enjoys playing some spanish guitar to help him relax and is thinking of taking some guitar lessons at GCC, when he finds the time.

Despite all his time and effort into helping GCC he still finds time to go bicycling with his son and spend time with his wife.

“My son races, he is into biking,” said Oliveira. “ He is 17 years old and is well ranked in the country.”

Oliveira bought a racing bicycle two months ago to go riding with his son while he wasn’t in season.

“If I go riding with him during season I would just hold him back,” said Oliveira.

Oliveira is not just the new Director of Facilities and Construction of GCC, but a proud father and husband.