“Mr. U.Va.” That’s what coworkers in the University of Virginia’s Facilities Management call Bucky Crickenberger for his 30-plus years of dedication keeping systems up and running. His willingness to jump in and help complete a wide range of projects has earned him the Governor’s Award for Customer Service.
Now a lead electrician, Crickenberger has held various jobs over the years and tackled some serious tasks, from moving the panels of the Berlin Wall on Grounds to setting up an emergency steam boiler that maintained the necessary conditions for engineering research to continue uninterrupted. He also has suggested ways for the University to save money on electricity and improve outside lighting on Grounds.
The Governor’s Awards for Public Service, a statewide program, recognize outstanding employees for their hard work and dedication to the commonwealth. Agencies nominate the employees, who are being honored Wednesday at a ceremony hosted by Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Executive Mansion.
University Human Resources submits nominations from among those received for U.Va.’s Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Awards. Crickenberger will pick up that award, as will 10 other employees, at a reception on May 19.
“The focus of his life’s work continues to be the success of U.Va.’s mission by supporting the necessary resources for student education, research, housing and comfort,” wrote Mark Roach, associate director for Utility Systems Distribution, in nominating Crickenberger. “Bucky can be counted on to help anyone in need; his technical abilities are second to none.”
Roach had not been in his job long when he called on Crickenberger to help install an emergency steam boiler at the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Thornton Hall. Crickenberger drove the boiler to its location in a tractor-trailer. He set up the boiler and wired it into the distribution grid for power. It produced 1 million BTU an hour without interruption of service, which protected the consistency of the research results.
Not only engineering researchers benefitted from Crickenberger’s skills and work ethic.
“I benefitted by having one of the most skilled people I have ever met help guide and work with me through a challenging task,” Roach wrote.
In addition to being an electrician, Crickenberger is licensed to drive all of the Facilities Management equipment, including operating a crane. When four heavy, concrete panels of the Berlin Wall – with the spray-painted “Kings of Freedom” mural by West German graffiti artist Dennis Kaun – were brought to the site adjacent to Alderman Library on McCormick Road, Crickenberger moved them with the large crane into the glass-enclosed display.
“The [Berlin] Wall panels historically were priceless,” Roach wrote. “Once he showed up, I felt assured and confident that the setting of those panels would be performed in a safe and efficient manner with the respect they deserve.”
Crickenberger is well-known for treating everyone with dignity and respect, wrote Roach and supporting nominator Sathish Anabathula, associate director of Power and Light at Facilities Management.
“Bucky mentors others in the team when they have questions or problems,” Anabathula wrote. “He is and always has been very dependable when needed and is the go-to person on this team.”
On several occasions, he has reminded his colleagues of the bigger picture, that it doesn’t matter which department this person or that person is in – they all work for U.Va.