The University Record, September 8, 1992

Movers gently muscle their way into the hearts of customers

By Mary Jo Frank

Moving and Trucking’s expert staff are movers, not shakers.

Moving artistic masterpieces, sensitive scientific instruments and radioactive materials is all in a day’s work for the 13 movers, two stockkeepers, dispatcher and two foremen who work at Moving and Trucking. The trained millwrights and riggers even move whole departments, making the heavyweight work look easy.

Staff from Moving and Trucking also erect and take down all types of scaffolding for Plant Operations and other campus departments. Crews pull and replace transformers, cooling tower motors, gear boxes, elevator motors, fan motors, fan shafts and electrical cables in underground vaults and ducts.

For commencements, Moving and Trucking crews work behind the scenes, setting the stage for the University’s most important events.

Come winter, movers remove ice and snow around the Fleming Administration Building and other campus buildings.

Moving and Trucking, a financially self-supporting unit, works to keep its costs competitive.

Douglas W. Fasing, manager of Waste and Grounds Management Service, admits that when comparing Moving and Trucking with some local movers based on cost alone “we’re in a less enviable position.” But that’s because Moving and Trucking doesn’t lay off employees during slow periods and uses only skilled movers, Fasing explains. In addition to passing written and driving tests, all movers are required to have commercial driver’s licenses and forklift licenses.

Fasing says that one of Moving and Trucking’s major advantages, in addition to excellent service, is that it understands and accommodates units’ schedules. If a department needs to make a partial move because of a scheduling conflict and then complete the move a few days later, Moving and Trucking will work it out, Fasing says.

Moves are insured through the U-M’s Risk Management Office. However, in the 30 months Moving and Trucking has been under Fasing’s supervision, he says he has received no complaints. Moving and Trucking used to be part of Parking Operations, now University Parking Services.

Moving and Trucking’s goal is to “do it right, on time and at a reasonable cost,” Fasing says.

Moving and Trucking has its share of appreciative customers, and thank you notes are common.

Karen F. Koka and Kathryn L. Beam of the University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections wrote: “As you know, we were concerned about the fragility of the materials being moved, as well as for the safety of items on the shelves in the areas in which the moving took place. Your people from Moving and Trucking were knowledgeable, concerned and very careful with all of the rare and fragile items in this department.”

“They were also humorous and easy to work with, and we would be happy to work with them again in any future moving projects. Please give them our thanks.”

In July 1991 Moving and Trucking moved $1 million worth of nuclear magnetic resonance equipment for the Biophysics Research Division to the Institute of Science and Technology.

Following the move, Eric R.P. Zuiderweg, professor of biological chemistry and research scientist in the Biophysics Research Division, wrote: “I was favorably impressed with the professionalism, expediency and care with which the crew moved the equipment ...”

After Moving and Trucking moved a computer-controlled milling machine from Plant Receiving to the Instrument Shop in the basement of the Chemistry Building, Albert G. Wilson, technical services supervisor, Department of Chemistry, penned: “During this delicate and complex moving operation these workers exhibited good planning, skill and teamwork. I also found them to be courteous and a pleasure to work with.

“These skilled men made a difficult job seem easy. They calmed my anxieties about moving a valuable piece of precision machinery and also won my respect.”