Calvin College Chimes

Q&A with retiring physical plant director Phil Beezhold
Phil Beezhold had a role in many of the building projects on campus. Photo courtesy

Phil Beezhold had a role in many of the building projects on campus. Photo courtesy

bill lindhout bill lindhout phot

bill lindhout bill lindhout phot

Phil Beezhold had a role in many of the building projects on campus. Photo courtesy

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The physical plant oversees everything from the development of master plans for campus renovation to vehicle rental requests. Further information on current and future projects can be found in the Calvin website.

Sally Vander Ploeg, vice president for administration and finance, made the following comment on the years Beezhold spent with the physical plant:

“Phil Beezhold retired from his work as the director of the physical plant on Sept. 30, 2017, after 16 years of service. Phil had a broad impact on the college during his years of service.

“In addition to the day-to-day work of keeping the college looking great, he also managed construction and remodeling projects, co-chaired the campus master planning process, led a great team of physical plant staff and typically seemed to have fun while doing all of this.

“He also found time to mentor students along the way, and so influenced not only those he worked with each day, but also many students who crossed his path. One of the things I really admired about Phil is that he always treated the college campus as if it were his own home; he paid attention to the little details and spent the college’s resources wisely.

“We will miss Phil, and are grateful for his faithful service to Calvin.”

Beezhold agreed to answer some questions from Chimes on what it was like to work for Calvin College at the physical plant.


Chimes: Can you explain what the Calvin physical plant does?

Beezhold: Physical plant’s primary goal is the creation, repair, cleaning and maintenance of Calvin’s physical environment. Physical plant is responsible for the day to day operations of all spaces on both Calvin’s main campus and off campus properties and includes the construction and maintenance of both buildings and grounds. The department is comprised of a diverse staff of over 60 staff members engaged in the care of over 2.2 million square feet of space, 478 acres, 18 sports fields, 14 miles of sidewalks, 30 acres of parking lots, the 319 acre Camp Waltman, and thousands of pieces of equipment, toilets, sinks, doors, windows, and roofs. The physical plant department consists of eight departments, including plant operations, architectural maintenance services, building services, environmental health and safety, design, grounds, mechanical maintenance, and transportation

The department’s mission statement is “ to glorify God by providing the best possible environment for encouraging academic excellence and Christian community.”

Chimes: Why did you decide to work for Calvin College?

Beezhold: I wanted to use my skills and experience working for a Christian institution, and I loved the mission of Calvin College

Chimes: What is your management philosophy?

Beezhold: To empower others to use their gifts and skills for excellent work that glorifies God.

Chimes: What was a typical day like?

Beezhold: Reviewing and assign work orders, reviewing budgets, meeting with staff members, attending project and construction meeting. Communicating with various members of the Calvin community.

Chimes: What were your biggest projects were?

Beezhold: Preparing for President Bush to deliver the graduation commencement speech, the construction and remodeling of the field house complex, the construction and remodeling of the Covenant Fine Arts Center.

Chimes: What do you think are some of the most important attributes or skills for a physical plant manager?

Beezhold: Being a good communicator, understanding building design and construction, understanding budgets and plant operations, and the having ability to empower and inspire others to do well.

Chimes: How did you contribute your skills to accomplish the Calvin College’s mission statement?

Beezhold: By making Calvin a beautiful environment for faculty, staff and students to work, live and learn, a place/environment that encourages student to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

Chimes: What is your advice for current students?

Beezhold: Enjoy your years at Calvin. They will be some of the best years of your life

Chimes: Is there anything you wished you could have done before retirement?

Beezhold: I would have liked to have finished the remodeling of the Commons dining hall and have participated in the construction of a student union.

Chimes: What is your plan after leaving Calvin College?

Beezhold: I am currently taking time to see where God might be calling me next to use my skills and experience.

1 Comment

One Response to “Q&A with retiring physical plant director Phil Beezhold”

  1. Matt Hoekzema on October 27th, 2017 9:53 am

    Thanks for your years of service Phil! Calvin will forever be a better place because of your leadership!

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