Getting To Know: Tom Pifer

Who is Tom Pifer?

Tom smiling.
Tom with Mercer Sign

You may have seen Tom around Mercer and not even realized it. He’s the guy wearing the boonie hat, walking around outside, checking things out, always on the move from one project to the next. Tom is one of those guys that is just easy to talk to and ask questions. Although much like some wise character from a movie, he might just answer your question with a question. He’s Mercer’s Facilities Manager and he’s kind of awesome. Tom joined us back in April of 2014 right after the Mid America Truck Show, with his first task being, how do we make Mercer’s booth more inviting to drivers. If you’ve been by our booth in the last few years you’ve seen some of the changes Tom came up with. An inviting diner like atmosphere that draws both current and prospective drivers to come by, have a seat, and visit with us. Since then he’s been working with management all over campus to update our workspaces.

Changing Workspaces

One of the bigger remodels to campus was the work area for the coordinators. Tom worked with Dale Corum and the Truck Ops managers on what they wanted the new space to accomplish. “With more opportunity to learn, better tools, and an environment that reinforces exposure to all those opportunities, if somebody wants to succeed they’re going to have the opportunity,” explained Tom. To do this Tom, his crew, and some fine people from Ron Metts Construction, created workspaces that were uniform and had defined space but were still open enough to encourage communication between coordinators. That way newer coordinators could learn for more tenured coordinators, and vice versa.

Form and Function

When talking with Tom you realize he never rushes into a decision, every choice is made after careful thought and planning. Lots of the design choices serving multiple purposes. Tom and Dale Corum talked about making the outside of Mercer match how great the inside was, and help make Mercer part of the Louisville landscape. With that goal in mind Tom looked into updating our lots and buildings. Somethings were as simple as a fresh coat of paint, but for our security Tom wanted to not only keep us compliant, but also make the place more welcoming. Tom talks about “soft edges” and “hard edges.” “Could we make fences, not just barriers, but beautiful spaces, soft edges,” he asks. If you’ve been by lately you know the answer is yes. Tom had them bring the fence around Building 8 in, creating an area to plant trees providing a more welcoming look. There’s also the new sign right there on the corner of 12th and Main letting new recruits know that they’ve not only arrived at Mercer, but hopefully feel welcome as well.

What’s going on with the Atkins lot?

Some of you may or may not know that Mercer recently acquired the Atkin’s Lot next door. Those of you who ran UPS last year may remember parking your trailer there. So Tom plans on using the space similarly in the future with parking for around 200 trailers when the need arises. There will also be offices in the main building although which departments will be in there has yet to be decided.

The Future

Of course Tom is always working, and here soon all of the lots will have new uniform signage not only on our gates but our buildings as well. So that drivers and employees can better navigate our campus. We asked Tom about what the end goal was, Tom didn’t really see it in that way, “I don’t really believe in ends, mostly transitions.” In Tom’s view, there will always be change on the horizon, either in up keeping facilities, or redesigning them to meet future needs. We look forward to seeing what Tom has in store for us.