Philadelphia University’s Physical Plant Receives APPA Award for Excellence

The APPA “Award for Excellence in Facilities Management” was awarded to Philadelphia University’s Physical Plant operations for its outstanding achievements in facilities management.

Philadelphia University is the first four-year college or university in Pennsylvania to achieve this recognition. The honor and recognition of the Award for Excellence designation will remain in place for five years.

APPA is the recognized international industry association that provides leadership in educational facility management to over 1,500 member institutions. In the 21-year history of the award, fewer than 65 institutions have met the stringent qualification criteria for this award. 

“I would like to express my appreciation to APPA for selecting Philadelphia University for this award in such a competitive environment,” said J. Thomas Becker, PE, EFP, assistant vice president for operations. “We have been very focused and working hard over the last five or six years to take our Physical Plant operations to a higher level of excellence and customer service. This is a terrific validation of those efforts”

Physical Plant is a behind-the-scenes transparent operation focused on giving the University the tools needed to provide students with a model 21st-century professional education. “The fact that our students learn in an active and collaborative manner across disciplines requires that our physical plant is structured to support that kind of environment,” added Becker, who received the award on behalf of Philadelphia University’s Physical Plant at the APPA international conference July 8.

“I would like to congratulate our entire facilities staff for the outstanding work they have done to transform our campus and enhance the Philadelphia University experience for our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends,” said Randall Gentzler, vice president for finance and administration.

Physical Plant operation is a shamrock organization, with a core group of in-house management and staff who oversee facility maintenance, construction, related capital procurement, and planning and scheduling. This allows for seamless integration of University specifications, construction and teamwork. 

The facilities are maintained under the direction of Ben Suplick, a LEED-certified professional engineer, utilizing a combination of internal facilities maintenance professionals and contracted services, such as housekeeping and groundskeepers.

The Physical Plant team has designed and implemented a sophisticated 24/7, full-serve, staffing model and communications protocol that addresses the needs of today’s students and academic programs.

With a cutting-edge, web-driven, customer-service interface – including extensive feedback mechanisms – Physical Plant provides faculty, staff and students with around-the-clock service through RAM techs or “right away maintenance,” cross-trained technicians. 

Physical Plant has also been a leader of energy conservation on campus, including storm-water management plans that are a benchmark in the Philadelphia region. For more on the Physical Plant sustainability initiatives, go to

“The APPA Award of Excellence is a testament to the Physical Plant professionals’ hard work and commitment to Philadelphia University. I am extremely proud of their outstanding accomplishments and their continued focus on productivity that allows them to provide a consistently high level of service and respond to our campus community and facility needs,” Gentzler added.

To view a video of Philadelphia University’s award-winning Physical Plant, go to

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