Distinguished Staff Award
Photograph of Saeid Rastegar

Saeid Rastegar

Regulated Materials Manager, Facilities Services

Nominated by Howard Nakase, Manager, Grounds Management – FMC / Facilities Services

Awarded 2017

Dear Distinguished Staff Award Committee:

On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to formally nominate Saeid Rastegar, Manager of the Regulated Materials Office—Facilities Maintenance & Construction, as a candidate for the Distinguished Staff Award. Saeid provides extraordinary support to many diverse groups throughout the University of Washington, and his impact on the University goes far beyond the routine maintenance of campus buildings and grounds. As indicated in the letters of support, Saeid’s commitment to the University’s values and goals exceeds his job description and demonstrates his sense of ownership and service to both the campus community and its facilities.

In this letter I will briefly explain why Saeid’s years of experience, examples of outstanding service, and honorable character make him a worthy candidate for the Distinguished Staff Award.

Saeid began his career at the University of Washington as a consultant in August 1998. In May 2004 he was permanently hired by the UW Facilities Services. As the Manager of the Regulated Materials Management Office (RMMO), Saeid leads a team that is responsible for the testing and removal of biohazards like asbestos, lead, PCB, and mercury, and due to the age of many of the campus buildings, this group is never short of work. Managing limited resources to accomplish this regulatory work is a huge responsibility that Saeid takes on with integrity. His innovative thinking led to hiring in-house Industrial Hygienists rather than contracting to outside consultants. This resourceful practice continues to save the University over half a million dollars annually. In addition, Saeid works with the Capital Project Development team to take on larger restoration projects that involve abatement that his team and sub-contractor can perform. Two recent projects, one at the Health Sciences Building and another at Sand Point, have resulted in savings of over $500,000 compared to what a contractor and consultant would have charged the University.

His staff cites many examples of how his efforts directly contribute to UW Facilities Services’ mission to “learn, adapt, and innovate to preserve physical assets and deliver best services.” As one of his team members put it, “He has proven repeatedly that he is not afraid to go above and beyond to ensure that environmental concerns on campus are addressed effectively and safely.”

On a recent Friday afternoon, there was a flood in Paccar Hall that cascaded down five floors. In support of the NE Maintenance Zone, Saeid immediately mobilized his term abatement contractor to help expedite the cleanup and mitigate any further flood damage. Saeid then worked all weekend, doing moisture readings and inspections to prevent microbial fungal growth and to have the building ready for students and faculty on Monday. As another example of his dedication, Saeid quite literally sacrificed his body in the line of business: During a recent flood at the Health Sciences Building, water was running down a hallway and through a stairwell. Undaunted, Saeid lay down to build a human dam to divert the water from causing additional damage to the lower floors.

What’s more, Saeid’s natural ability to cultivate the knowledge of his staff and colleagues, enables them to collaborate and present ideas that he respectfully considers. He realizes that diverse perspectives can bring alternative ideas into the fold. As in a recent LEAN launch, the RMMO team ventured on a journey to improve a process of theirs that lent itself to a backlog of historical data. This collaborative team effort resulted in an efficient way of exporting information from our Work Management System to a very accessible database. This new process helps them expedite the identification of known hazards for all our buildings on campus. Out of this effort was a quantifiable cost savings that would have never been realized, had it not been for the encouragement and support of Saeid with his staff. Additionally, our campus partners feel that if not for his personal commitment to train staff and the education of others of how these regulated materials are being properly handled and disposed of, a potentially unpredictable circumstance is generally recognized as a skillfully executed situation.

Perhaps more important than what Saeid does every day at work is the way he treats others. As indicated by the support letter from his co-workers, he has gained their utmost respect. Although Saeid has been on the job for more than 18 years, his everyday enthusiasm is more consistent with a new hire. Yet, these years of experience demonstrate his “calming personality and ability to quickly assess a situation that diffuses what may have otherwise been a tense and uncertain state of affairs,” according to Dennis Fields of H&FS.

In summary, Saeid completes all he is tasked to do with excellence and professionalism. His respect for others and ability to collaborate with his staff and different groups on campus affords him the utmost respect of his colleagues and peers. The letters of support demonstrate Saeid’s resourcefulness and innovation that supports the University’s overall mission. That is why I hope you will consider his nomination for the Distinguished Staff Award.

Respectfully yours,

Howard Nakase

Facilities Maintenance and Construction

Manager of Grounds Operations and Building Envelope

View All Past Recipients