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October 28, 2004

David Lee Small

As the senior manager of trades and emergency services for the University’s Division of Facilities Management, David Small was at work or on call 24/7. According to his colleagues in Facilities Management and the customers he served, he carried this mantel of responsibility with pride, an ever-present sense of humor and a dedication to serve all members of the campus community.

Small died unexpectedly at his home in the North Hills on Oct. 22, 2004. He was 57.

According to Chuck Turbanic, assistant vice chancellor for maintenance and operations, Small served as his right-hand man in overseeing Pitt’s in-house trades and their related customer service issues. “Any after-hours event or emergency was his – he would always communicate with me to determine who should be called out for appropriate response, but most of the time he handled all of those situations by himself,” Turbanic said. “I would ask him if he needed me to come in and never did he hesitate in saying he had it covered – and he did. He was always there.”

Small started working at Pitt as a painter in August 1993. In January 1995 he was named area coordinator in Facilities Management. In that position, he focused on serving the departments and programs of Arts and Sciences. In October 2000 Small was named acting senior manager of maintenance and emergency services. He was appointed senior manager of maintenance and emergency services in May 2001 and remained in that position until his death.

Prior to joining the University, Small served in the U.S. Army for two years and worked in the private sector as a painter. His specialty was painting high-level structural steel components from a swinging boatswain’s chair, a talent that Small once described as requiring an absence of fear and an abundance of humor, colleagues said.

Phil Hieber, senior area coordinator for Facilities Management and a close friend of Small’s, reflected on Small’s well-defined sense of humor. “Dave was one of the most dedicated and sincere employees at the University,” Hieber said. “He would always take the extra step to insure that everyone was taken care of and at the same time he was able to maintain that smile and sense of humor that were his trademarks.”

One former colleague referred to Small “as an imp in a strong man’s body.” Another friend and colleague, Chris Weinstein, said, “You could always tell when Dave was in the Eureka building. He had the ability to put a smile on everybody’s face.”

Small will be honored Nov. 9 at the fall meeting of the Arts and Sciences administrators. The school’s Mike Orosz Award “for dedication to maintaining and improving the instructional and research facilities of the Arts and Sciences” will be awarded posthumously to Small at that meeting.

Orosz, who died in September 2003 at age 36, was Arts and Sciences facilities director for the Clapp-Langley-Crawford (CLC) complex.

According to Richard Howe, associate dean of Arts and Sciences, “This year’s Mike Orosz Award will recognize Dave Small for establishing a higher standard for those members of the School of Arts and Sciences and our colleagues in Facilities Management who are responsible for the expansive A&S facilities. Dave’s performance was driven by his keen awareness of the critical importance facilities serve in supporting the instructional and research activities of our faculty. This award will carry a special significance since it was Dave Small who recommended Mike Orosz to be hired by the Arts and Sciences in 1998.”

Small is survived by his son David L. Small Jr. of the North Side; his daughter Amy Partridge and husband Tom of McCandless Township, and daughter Kelly Karavolous of Pittsburgh. He also is survived by his former wife, Diane Small, grandson Samuel Small, granddaughter Anna Partridge and girlfriend Allison.

According to Turbanic, “Dave was much more than just a fellow employee; he was a close personal friend. He will be sorely missed, not only by FM, but the campus in general. He was always there when you needed him, he made the right decisions and he was extremely loyal to Pitt. What more can one say?”

Filed under: Feature,Volume 37 Issue 5

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