Laurie Totsenson of Dartmouth College
Laurie Tostenson is a Quality Assurance Specialist who performs regular custodial inspections using the Smart Inspect app. Smart Inspect is a custodial quality inspection technology used by colleges, universities, K-12 districts and other cleaning organizations across the U.S.
Our partnership with Dartmouth College began when our parent company, Core Management Services, performed an independent custodial assessment (staffing and quality benchmarking) and custodial master plan, complete with redesigned custodial task sheets and color-coded maps. One of our assessment recommendations was for Dartmouth to create a Quality Assurance position whose sole focus was on objective quality audits and related activities (data review, communication of scores, training, etc.). Laurie was recruited for that position and is doing an excellent job transforming the culture into a quality-centric environment.
Laurie works closely with the custodial supervisors, performing inspections to keep a fresh set of eyes on quality scores, areas of excellence and deficiency trends. Her Smart Inspect quality data helps Dartmouth College recognize the custodians for a job well done, and she also reviews deficiency photographs and data to trains the custodians to address the opportunities for improvement.
Dartmouth Alumni Magazine recently caught up with Laurie for a quick Q&A about her job:
You’re in a new position, right?
Yes. I run a program called Smart Inspect and score buildings on cleanliness levels to ensure quality standards.
Is morale an issue on your team?
Custodians are self-motivated. They know students can get really sick if they don’t do their jobs well.
How has this work changed?
Years ago janitors mopped with dirty water. Now there’s a lot of training in the use of chemicals, which are smarter. Bugs are smarter, and it’s harder to kill germs.
What’s the annual budget for keeping Dartmouth clean?
Including labor costs, it’s about $12 million.
You inspect Dartmouth’s 126 buildings annually. What interesting things have you seen?
A beautiful stained-glass window in a bathroom in Bartlett. I love Rollins. It’s serene.
What’s the first thing you notice when you do an inspection?
I ask myself, “Does it look welcoming, organized, and clean? Is the door clean—its glass, frame, and hardware? Is the floor clean? Is the lighting adequate?”
What are the hardest parts of custodians’ jobs?
Cluttered offices. When our custodians can’t get in, there can be a complaint, and that hurts them. They want to do a good job.
Are older buildings harder to clean?
Older buildings are not as well-lit and appear darker, which may make them look less clean. To make them look as good as they do takes love and attention.
What’s your pet peeve?
It’s disheartening when students have left trash outside after a dorm party. Custodians are expected to pick that up. It’s extra work.
Got any cleaning tips?
Declutter. Too many material things get in the way of getting important things done.
Who does housework in your home?
My husband does the dishes. I do the laundry and cleaning.
The interview can be found in an article on Dartmouth’s Alumni Magazine, using this link: https://dartmouthalumnimagazine.com/articles/laurie-tostenson#.Xdmyf3i-AJw.email
Contact Smart Inspect using the form below if you have other questions that weren’t answered in this interview.