Next time you visit the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) building, say “hello” to Susan Cook, when you see her. And, please congratulate Susan on being one of the longest-standing members of ASPA, looking back on 32 years at the U of S, with 8 years as an ASPA member. Susan is not difficult to find: as Building Manager of the WCVM building, she needs to maintain her daily presence in all corners of what counts as one of the most diverse buildings on campus, encompassing offices, class rooms, research space and labs, clinical space for the animal patients, both interior and exterior, and public spaces for visitors. Susan became WCVM Building Manager in 2008, motivated by her interest in the building and its history. Susan explains:
“This role has brought my father’s engineering genes to the fore – I enjoy roofs, basements and mechanical systems, and a major part of my Building Manager role is to coordinate and communicate with the FMD management, project managers and tradespeople during maintenance and renovations.”
You might think that working with physical infrastructure at the macro scale is demanding enough. Yet, Susan also spends part of her work week in a much smaller, almost microscopic, environment. This environment is where Susan’s career in the WCVM began in 1984: Susan had completed an MSc in Veterinary Physiology, and was hired as technician in the same lab – dedicated to animal reproductive research. These days, Susan is the Endocrine Lab Manager, and spends 25% of her work time in the Endocrine Service Lab at WCVM, which provides animal reproductive diagnostic analyses for local researchers, other Universities, and sometimes for non-University companies.
Managing a building and managing a lab: this combination is tailor-made for Susan, who describes her diverse work life as always “… challenging and rewarding – the diagnostic and research end has periods of tedium which become extremely interesting once one has the data to work with. As Building Manager, life is rarely boring. Someone will always say “I don’t know who I should tell” – that would be me! I will figure out who should know about the problem.”
In addition to being heavily engaged in her dual work roles, Susan has still found the time to volunteer for ASPA. For the past two years, Susan has participated in the ASPA Communications Committee. Thank you Susan. ASPA is fortunate and proud to have you as a member.