Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
Starting a new job is always stressful, but imagine beginning work as a mail services manager in the wake of last fall's national anthrax scare. That's exactly the situation in which Martin O'Brien found himself back in November, when he succeeded Penny Guyer as mail services manager in the Department of Facilities.
In fact, the anthrax scares prompted the idea of developing a business continuity plan, which would ensure that MIT mail service would continue even if Building WW15 can't serve as a mail center. This is just one of many projects on O'Brien's docket. Other items include evaluating and improving internal processes; reviewing the feasibility of obtaining an optical carrier reader, which could save MIT some money on mailing costs and improve delivery service; and raising awareness about the services Mail Services currently offers, such as folding, inserting, sealing and addressing both large and small mailings.
During his career in the US Postal Service, O'Brien climbed the ranks from a mail carrier in Cambridge up to recent positions as postmaster in the Norwood post office and manager of customer services in the Malden post office. He also has held positions in post offices in Chelsea, Boston, Brookline and Weston. "His combination of experience in mail services and experience in management made Marty a good fit for MIT," said James H. Wallace, assistant director for operations in Facilities.
Part of O'Brien's management experience comes from his work in Winthrop, where he is a member of the Committee to Improve Winthrop's Finances. He also has served on that town's personnel board.
O'Brien cited the challenges of his new position as one of the things that drew him to MIT. The Institute's reputation also played a role in his decision. "MIT is an employer that is well known for genuinely valuing its employees," he said. "I look forward to assisting everyone within the MIT community with all of their mailing needs. The staff of Mail Services is a team of dedicated individuals who work closely together to provide quality mail service to the Institute."
O'Brien joins two other new managers in the operational area of Facilities. David McCormick is the new manager of structural services, and Bernard Richard is the new manager of mechanical, electrical and piping. The two were already a team before coming to MIT--they worked together for 12 years at Malden Mills in Lawrence.
The hiring of these two managers is part of a restructuring process in Repair and Maintenance that also included the assignment of Steve Miscowski to manager of operations for administration and planning. "I needed someone to work closely with me on operations issues, and I tapped Steve for that role," Wallace said. "That left a void in Repair and Maintenance. Ideally, I wanted to find people who were engineers but had also worked in maintenance, had worked with unionized staff and who are very good with people. We were lucky enough to find these kinds of people in Bernie and Dave."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 27, 2002.