The Pathway that Inspires Career Success

Finis Jones, Director of Custodial Services, joined Facilities Management in 2017, bringing years of experience and a new style of leadership to the team. Once on board, Finis immediately recognized that he had some amazing staff on hand. He began working with his managers Remedios Sarabia, Swing Shift Custodial Services Operations Manager, Esmeralda Vanover, Operations Daytime Principal Supervisor, and Jasmine Aranda, Operations Services Support Staff Manager, to expand the department's mentorship progam and create a pathway that would inspire staff to strive for career progression.

The Custodial Services leadership program uses one-on-one mentoring along with the UC Davis Learning & Development training options (https://hr.ucdavis.edu/departments/learning-dev). During the program, staff have the option to take a variety of leadership, Human Resources, and other courses at their own pace and are encouraged to keep track of what they’ve completed. Custodial supervisors recommend specific training based on the employee’s strengths or areas for continued growth. Conversely, staff can take the full list of recommended supervisory courses if interested.  

“Through our training and mentoring program and we have already had a few staff complete the program within 18 months!” said Jasmine Aranda.  Some staff members have applied and were selected for supervisory positions in Custodial Services, allowing the staff to see the progression and opportunities to participate in the program.  

To create these pathways, the department also added positions to aid in aligning opportunities for staff growth. Positions created were:

  • Day Shift Operations Manager
  • Support Staff Manager
  • Recharge and Events Manager
  • 2 Principal Supervisors for Day Shift
  • 1 Principal Supervisor for Swing Shift
  • 1 Assistant Supervisor
  • Lead Custodians for each campus core location

“These positions allowed us to recognize high-performing staff and supervisors and motivate other talented staff to strive for leadership positions.” Says Finis. The department now has a clear career pathway from being an on-call staff to full-time Custodian, then to supervisory and managerial positions that ultimately lead to the Director position.

“We hope that they [the staff] remain with us, or at least somewhere on the campus or within the UC system. If they move on, we know we have provided the right tools for that person to be successful,” says Remedios Sarabia, Custodial Operations Manager.  

One example of a successful program participant was Erik Fernandez, whom Remedios mentored one-on-one, and who was given the opportunity to lead a group of campus custodians that volunteered at UC Davis Health during COVID-19. Although the custodians had to learn new methods and restrictions at the Health Center, they received many kudos for their work. Erik was able to highlight his skills by organizing the staff and combating the fast pace and learning curve. Erik applied for a supervisory position with the Health Center and was quickly hired. Although Remedios was sad to see him go, he said “he is one of our biggest successes, moving through the supervisory training track extremely fast and showed promise that he could work his way up. Even though he moved, I still talk to him whenever he needs advice.” 

With hard work, dedication, and training, Custodial Services leadership is changing the culture within their unit. They have provided a clear pathway for success and much-needed opportunities for staff to progress within the organization. With one-on-one mentoring from supervisors, each staff has the tools and guidance needed to meet their individual career goals. Great job Custodial Services leaders! Keep up the good work.  

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