Behind the Scenes

Scott Fay, Residence Life Assistant Facilities Manager


Photographs courtesy of Tiffany Chin

“My job is multi-jobs,” said Residence Life Assistant Facilities Manager Scott Fay. 

The first task for his day, Fay said, is to “make sure everything is running smoothly in the morning before I can start any other projects.” 

On a daily basis, Fay checks and prioritizes work orders, orders supplies, gets the schedule set for student workers, and fixes issues that occur through housing. 

While his shift is from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., those are not the hours Fay tends to work. 

“The upper campus shuts down at five … it can be dead silent, nothing going on. Housing doesn’t shut down. When it’s still five o’clock, you guys are still here, everything is still going on. So we can’t just turn around and go ‘they can wait.’” 

Fay mentions a time during a summer session when he was working from 7 a.m. to about midnight.

Fay began his career at UIS close to 15 years ago as building service worker 1; however, Fay said, he “always wanted more. When I had the opportunity, I was taking tests, taking those opportunities, and trying to prove myself.” 

After eight years, Fay was able to move to the housing department as building service worker 3. For three or four years, Fay has been in his current position of assistant facilities manager. 

Fay said his favorite part of his job is the fact that, “I get to learn stuff every day. I get to meet new people every day. It’s not one of those jobs that it’s the same thing in, out, in, and out every day. I come in every day and say ‘what’s going on today, because I have no clue.’”

Fay wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

“It’s not a routine job. Some days a routine sounds good, but it’s a challenge and that’s what I like. When people say I can’t do it,” Fay laughs, “I’ll find out how.” 

Residence Life Carpenter Jay Gemberline said, “Working with Scott is great. Anything I need, he’ll try his best to go out and get it as soon as he can. If I need help with something, he’s always there to help me out. He’s a great coworker.”

Fay hopes students will be understanding of delays with work orders.

“We have almost 100 townhouse, 100 and some apartments, and 400 rooms in the res halls. Just understand, we got your information, we just have to prioritize. 

“We have two carpenters, one painter, one plumber, and one maintenance guy. My crew is five guys deep, that’s not a lot of people. … We don’t have one issue, we have 101 issues that come in a day.” 

But Fay always prioritizes students’ most pressing issues.

“We just have to make sure which [problem] needs to be hit first. Some are safety, if someone can’t get in or out of their house, their doors are not working – we need to worry about safety first.”

On the personal side of things, Fay was raised in the Navy. “I’ve been everywhere,” he said, but much of his time was spent in South Carolina and Illinois. 

He is a graduate from Bement, Illinois. “I tell people Decatur, Champaign, put your finger right in the middle and that’s Bement.” 

He married his wife Margaret in 1999, and they moved to Springfield for a new start. He began his job at UIS, not for the money, but “for the benefits. We wanted kids, we wanted a family. … To be able to have a family, we needed good benefits; the job was available and the benefits are great.” 

Fay spends his limited free time with his three boys, aged 15, 12, and 8, and as a scout master of Troop 340. 

“I like being outdoors and anything dealing with outdoors, which is why I’m heavily in scouting, it goes with my personality,” Fay said. “I enjoy working with my hands. … I’m a big hunter.”

Assistant Director of Residence Life Ryan Hofman said, “My favorite thing about working with Scott is his caring demeanor. Scott often takes time out of his day (and sometimes evenings and weekends) to help his student employees with any number of problems or concerns they may have from fixing a flat tire, budget planning, to checking in on them if they are sick.” 

Fay also tries to build good relationships with his student workers, who he says are invaluable. 

“I’m proud of my student workers, and I’m proud of what I do,’ Fay said. “If something needs done, I do rely heavily on [student workers], because I can go only so many directions at once and they do the other directions for me.” 

“If I didn’t have them, my job would be so much harder and I probably wouldn’t get half the stuff done.”

And through all of his work, Fay likes to stay upbeat. 

“I try and keep a positive attitude, we all have our bad days. … I always tell myself, I come to work with a bad attitude, it’s going to reflect on what I do.”