With every snow shower this winter, dozens of plows and salt trucks hit the streets of Ann Arbor before most people are awake to even appreciate it. One of the many men behind this operation is Chad Godfrey.
Godfrey is a facilities manager in U-M Plant Operations, the unit responsible for general maintenance of the campus buildings and grounds. Some of their duties include building maintenance, building upgrades, and the aforementioned snow removal.
For Godfrey, though, the path to U-M Plant Operations was a unique one. He started out wanting to be a sports broadcaster, and for four years he interned at WTKA in Ann Arbor. He said his mom’s family has been living in the area for more than half a century and that he was excited by the opportunity to cover the teams he loves.
“If I’m not a Michigan football fan, I don’t know who is,” he said.
In his time working for the radio station, Godfrey was fortunate enough to cover some rare events, including the final game at historic Tiger Stadium in Detroit and the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup championships of the last decade. His role grew in his time there, and he filled in on call-in sports talk shows from time to time.
Godfrey eventually decided that radio wasn’t the right fit, and that he wanted a job that would help him plan for a retirement. He also wanted the ability to take time off to spend with his family, which now includes his wife Courtney and their two young daughters.
“I got to do some really cool things in radio,” he said, but added, “I had to make a choice.”
That choice was to come to U-M, where he said he has enjoyed the stability of the job and a family-friendly work schedule. Despite not working in radio anymore, though, Godfrey is still covering sports on the side. He writes for the website isportsweb.com, started by a friend of his, and has contributed stories for more than a year now.
“I enjoy doing it, and I get good feedback from it,” he said. “It’s a hobby, and it keeps me going.”
As far as his day job goes, Godfrey said his biggest responsibility is in checking and maintaining supplies and inventory, including the 60 or so pieces of equipment that Plant Operations uses for the grounds. He also manages a computer database of this equipment.
In the process of snow removal, Godfrey is in charge of managing a few contractors and ordering equipment and de-icing products that are applied to the streets and sidewalks of the campus.
He said the early mornings when it snows can be hectic for everyone involved in the process, and that he has a lot of pride in working with a unit that is so productive in such a short period of time.
“Snow days are interesting here,” he said. “Our supervisors have their hands full. It’s amazing to me.”
In those mornings when he wakes up early to coordinate snow removal, Godfrey said he often asks himself “What am I doing?” Ultimately, though, it’s a job he enjoys, mostly because of the people he’s met.
“The contacts I’ve made and the things I’ve learned from the people I deal with are incredibly rewarding,” he said.
The weekly Spotlight features faculty and staff members at the university. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chad Godfrey, facilities manager, Plant Operations, on writing for a sports website in his spare time: “It’s a hobby. It keeps me going.”
“Precious People: Black & White Photography” by Marco Mancinelli, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Gifts of Art Gallery, Taubman Health Center North Lobby.