Brian Duke honored by Board of Regents for impact on Chesapeake Biological Laboratory campus

September 24, 2018

C. Brian Duke, Facilities Manager at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, has been awarded the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents Staff Award for Effectiveness and Efficiency. This is the first time that an UMCES staff member has received this prestigious system-wide award.

The Board of Regents' USM Staff Awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the Board of Regents for achievements of employees from the 12 institutions within the University System of Maryland. 

USM Board of Regents Staff Award winner Brian Duke he led the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in being the first to install high profile reusable water bottle filling stations to reduce the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

“These awards celebrate and recognize the best staff across USM, those that go above and beyond what could be expected normally in their position,” said Peter Goodwin, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and Vice Chancellor for Sustainability for the University System of Maryland. “Commitment such as Brian’s demonstrates to visitors and potential students that UMCES does not just study environmental issues but constantly implements actions that reduce our institutional carbon, water, and pollutant footprints.”

Duke has had a remarkable impact in his five years as facilities manager at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, helping to create a facilities team that operates a complex and sophisticated campus.

“When guests come to campus they often note how wonderful our facilities look, believing that we have spent additional time to prepare for their visit,” said Tom Miller, Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL). “The truth is that the CBL campus always operates at a high level to support the research and administration of those who work here every day.”

The Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, founded in 1925, is the flagship campus of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the oldest publicly supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. It is a national leader in research on fisheries, estuarine ecology, environmental chemistry and toxicology research of the Chesapeake Bay and aquatic ecosystems around the globe.

The waterfront campus is located in Solomons, which is also a Maryland tourism hot spot with hundreds of tourists roaming the grounds of the campus on any given week. The oldest building on campus dates back to the 1780s and the newest boasts some of the most advanced scientific technology available to replicate environments from the Arctic to the tropics for seawater experiments.

Duke’s biggest contributions have been in the area of the efficiency and effectiveness of campus operations. These include leading improvements to buildings on campus that have yielded substantial savings on operation costs, leveraging opportunities to upgrade infrastructure while other projects are ongoing, and implementing a facilities maintenance program that ensures the maximum lifespan possible from the campus’ physical plant.

“Brian is constantly thinking outside the box to ensure that our facilities provide the best possible return on the State’s investment,” said Miller. “His approach to leadership has created an environment in which those who report to him have followed his lead so that all of the facilities staff are constantly seeking ways to make our work more effective and efficient.”

His careful research and retrofit of the HVAC on the largest laboratory building at UMCES reduced energy costs by over $20,000 per year. He has facilitated a number of projects aimed at making the facility more energy efficient by upgrading lighting, and he led the campuses in being the first to install high profile reusable water bottle filling stations to reduce the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

Recent improvements have made a positive and real financial impact while simultaneously reducing UMCES’ dependence on fossil fuels. In 2016-2017, the campus reported a savings of $176, 220 in utility consumption and reduced its annual carbon dioxide footprint by 621 tons.

“Brian is extremely worth of being a recipient of the Board of Regents Staff Award for 2018 and I feel fortunate that CBL has such an outstanding and dedicated employee,” said Stacy Hutchinson, associate director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

Each awardee will receive a $2,000stipend and a plaque in recognition of the award being received.