At the TCF Center in Detroit, MI, Al Vasquez, manager of engineering services, is the recipient of four national and state awards honoring his work on the on-site temporary alternate care facility, the TCF Regional Care Center.
Greg DeSandy, interim general manager of TCF Center/ASM Global, was pleased to announce these awards bestowed upon Vasquez. Thee awards and medals include: a Challenge Coin awarded by the Michigan National Guard; the Legion of Merit medal awarded by the State of Michigan; a Challenge Coin awarded by Keith Kroupfreiter on behalf of the United States Army Corp of Engineers; and a Challenge Coin awarded from Dr. David Strong, Medical Lead on-site at the TCF Regional Care Center.
“Al exemplifies the best of TCF Center,” said Patrick Bero, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA.) “His diligence and dedication, all hours of the day and night, exceeds customer expectations and inspires all of our staff and management. We are happy for this professional recognition of his talent.”
As manager of engineering services, Vasquez is responsible for directing and managing the maintenance of the buildings, grounds, equipment, and utilities within the venue. He keeps the facility compliant with local building codes and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and assists customers with their facilities requirements.
Vasquez has been with TCF Center since 2009, coming with facilities management experience with Johnson Controls, Inc., St. Joseph Mercy Health System, and the University of Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ferris State University and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM.)
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, on March 30, 2020, TCF Center was designated by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, State of Michigan, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a temporary alternate care facility in Detroit.
Construction was performed by the TCF Center workforce and union labor in nine days and became a model for alternate care facility construction across the country. The temporary site was designed to relieve the burden on local hospitals treating patients with COVID-19, equipped with patient oxygen supply and negative air pressure to accommodate healing.
With guidance from FEMA and other officials, the site was designed in the most efficient way possible in order to allow the convention center to resume normal operations when possible. Currently, the field hospital is decommissioned.
“Healthy buildings host healthy people,” said DeSandy. “We couldn’t be happier that Al’s diligence in supporting the complete physical, mental and social well-being of each employee and visitor has been recognized by these state and federal agencies.”
COVID-19 Vaccination Site
In January 2021, TCF Center became a designated vaccination distribution site for the City of Detroit. This drive-through vaccine administration is ongoing in the venue’s Atwater Garage and distributing 4,700 doses a day to eligible Detroit residents.
Environmental air quality in the garage is monitored in real-time by Vasquez and his team for CO levels in the garage with 48 sensor readings that signal the team to turn on the required sequence of 17 variable-speed exhaust fans. A 12-foot by 10-foot video monitor with mapped locations of all CO sensors and exhaust fans is located in the engineering control room and watched by team members.
The OSHA rating from acceptable CO levels in a garage is between 25-100 PPM. The TCF Center engineering team makes adjustments in areas reading CO at 4-12 PPM to ensure healthy air quality in the vaccine distribution center. Warning texts are sent to all team members for immediate modification if necessary.
In 2019 TCF Center was the first venue to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification under the new v4.1 O+M standard and is now the largest LEED certified facility in Michigan. The venue received the 2020 U.S. Green Buildings Council Leadership Award for Building Performance and is the only convention center in the history of the award to do so.
(All photos provided by TCF Center, Detroit, MI)