Don Gaspard
Director of Facilities, Touro Infirmary

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Don Gaspard is​​ both a​ ​long-time​ Computrols ​customer​ and​​ experienced​ facility​ ​manager. ​​Mr.​ ​Gaspard​ ​is​ ​a military​ ​veteran​​ ​who​ ​​initially​ entered ​into​ the​ ​field​ ​of​ ​HVAC​ ​and​ ​refrigeration after attending Delgado Community College. ​After​ spending several​​ years​​ as an Air-conditioning Technician, ​he​ began​​ ​his​ ​career ​in​ ​​facility management ​at​ ​a​ ​New​ ​Orleans-based​ ​healthcare​ ​facility. For a number​​ ​of years​ Don worked at numerous facilities in both hospitality & healthcare. He then started in his ​current role ​as​ ​the Director​ of​​ Facilities​​ at​​ Touro​​ ​Infirmary where he has spent the past 14 years.

What​ makes​​ ​operating​ ​a​ ​healthcare​ ​facility​ ​different ​from​​ ​operating​ ​any​ ​other​ ​kind​ ​of facility?

In​ ​a​ ​word, ​​compliance. ​As​​ ​healthcare​ ​facility managers, ​we​ ​are​ ​required​ ​to​ maintain the standards set forth by the Joint Commission​,​ CMS​ (​Centers​ ​for Medicare​ & Medicaid​​ Services), Fire Marshal, and DHH (Department of Health & Hospitals) 24/7/365.

Along with maintaining these standards, detailed documentation must also be kept verifying that testing and inspections are being executed per the requirements. ​Regular ​training​ must​ also​ ​be conducted for both​ ​the​ ​facilities​ ​team ​and​ other​ ​​departments in the hospital to ensure they understand both life safety and infection control standards as they affect their work area, for the protection of our patients. ​

Why​ ​are​ ​building​ ​automation ​systems​ ​especially​ important​​ to​ healthcare​ facilities?

CBAS Simple TopographyWell, ​I​ ​think​ ​they​ ​have​ ​really made​ ​their​ ​mark​​ not​ ​​just​ in ​healthcare facilities,​ but​​ in​​ many other industries as well.​ To ​get a​ ​real appreciation​ for ​building​ automation​ ​systems,​ ​you have​ to​​ ​understand ​that ​30+​ years​ ​ago​ ​an​ ​operating​ engineer ​​or​ ​“watch​ ​engineer”​ ​as​ ​they​ ​were​ known back then were required to stay in the engine room to continually watch pressure & temperature gauges & instruments that required frequent adjustments to keep the equipment working properly.

In today’s world where everyone is being asked to do more with less personnel, automation systems are better controlling & maintaining the designed conditions of the plant without constant monitoring. This allows the Plant Engineer to be more productive and not restricted to the central plant for their entire shift. Today’s automation systems allow the operators to set control parameters and alarm settings that can notify the operator via text or e-mail whenever equipment requires attention. In critical areas such as operating rooms or other patient care areas, the system can also notify the nursing staff if required conditions are not being maintained.

In​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​comfort​ ​and​ ​security, ​​has​ ​sustainability​ ​become​ ​an​ ​expectation​ ​in​ ​the healthcare ​industry​ as​​ well?

Well​ ​yes ​definitely. There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​pressure​ ​to​ ​become​ ​more​ ​“green” ​and​ reduce​​ ​energy consumption in hospitals. It’s​​ really​​ an​ ​uphill battle since even though we purchase more energy efficient equipment and make control adjustments to reduce energy usage, utility costs continue to increase, offsetting a portion of the gains we have made.

In hospitals, there are limitations to the adjustments that can be made to the environmental controls, because in a lot of areas, there are specific temperature, humidity, and pressure requirements to be maintained. ​

What​ ​about​ ​Computrols​ ​products​ ​make​ ​them​ ​a​ ​particularly​ ​good​ ​fit​ ​for​ ​healthcare facilities?

I think​ the Computrols system is more​ user-friendly​ than​ any​ other​ system​​ that​ ​​I​ ​have used over the years. ​I ​​have ​used​ ​Johnson Controls, ​Siemens, Honeywell​ and​ a​ few​ smaller​ ​vendors systems, ​​and​ to​ ​me, ​Computrols ​​is ​​the​ ​most ​​intuitive. The software​ is​​ the​​ easiest​ ​one​ to learn​ and​ ​go​ in​ and​​ ​make ​changes​ to programming. ​A​ ​big​ ​reason​ ​for​ ​this​ is​ because it​​ uses​​ regular​ English language ​rather​​ ​than​ ​code when writing programming sequences. ​That’s​​ ​one​ advantage​​ ​that​ ​I​ ​see​ ​with Computrols.

One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​reasons​ ​we​ ​chose​ ​Computrols​ ​is​ ​because​ ​they​ ​could​ ​integrate​ with ​the​ ​Siemens system​ ​we​ ​had​ ​and​ ​use​ ​most​ ​of​ ​their​ ​existing​ ​controllers, rather​ ​than​ ​having​ ​to​ ​replace​ ​the entire ​ system​ at​ ​the​ ​start. ​As we renovate, we are ​​converting to a​ pure​​ Computrols​ system but at the time of the change, this method was less disruptive than changing out the entire old Siemens system.

Working with Computrols over the past decade has truly been a partnership. From their sales team to their technicians, they always have their customers’ best interests at heart. I can’t think of another service partner over my career that provided such a high level of customer service with a product to match. They believe facility managers should be able to run their own BAS, and everything that they do as a company supports that belief.
 


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