Spotlight On: Chris Ryder, Duke Athletics

Chris Ryder
Director of Athletic Facilities, Game Operations, and Championships
Duke Athletics
Hometown: Lynbrook, New York
Education: High Point University
Official bio
Twitter: @See_Me_Ryde


What do the first two hours of your day look like?

I like to keep my mornings as routine as possible, specifically the first couple of hours on the job. I try not to get sucked into the rabbit hole of responding to emails as I feel it’s a crucial time for me to work on some of the priorities I have set for the day. I normally use this time to touch base with my contractors to get status updates on outstanding work, check in on any open work requests with the University Facilities Maintenance Department so that I am able to provide feedback to our staff, and follow-up on any needs for upcoming projects that week. However, there are times when you need to put out fires that demand immediate attention and throw my “routine” straight out the window.

Name one go-to resource (or two or three) that helps you with your duties.

There are quite a few resources that help me stay on track and help keep all of my notes organized. However, one App we specifically use as an office is Trello, which is used as a personal and project management tool in order for us to stay on task and organized. Within this app you are able to assign tasks to yourself and co-workers, add to-do checklists, customize projects, track event planning, etc. Personally, this app has allowed me to streamline communication with contractors during projects, actively monitor any open work orders, keep notes in one place in preparation for meetings, and even acts as a guideline during facility walk-throughs.

Name one new thing you want to accomplish within the next year.

As much as I want to be successful in this career it is just as gratifying to see some of my past/present co-workers excel in their own careers. One of the priorities I have set for myself is to grow as leader and mentor for my co-workers within the office. I am aiming to provide them with support and guidance, while promoting open communication in a positive atmosphere.

As you look at the athletic operations field, what is one area that is growing/changing the most?

Athletic Operations & Facilities continues to emerge and evolve with the changes and advancements in new media technologies, safety/security, facility upgrades, etc. With that being said, the one area that has shown to be beneficial to the university, community, and environment is the increased focus on facility sustainability. A few aspects of sustainability that we as operators can have a huge impact on is waste management in reducing our carbon footprint by composting our waste, water efficiency in the management of leaks, and energy efficiency with the implementation of LEDs as well as daylight and occupancy sensors. We as facility managers must be cognizant of these impacts and take the proper steps by setting specific objectives and goals in order to reduce our facilities environmental impacts, provide healthy spaces for our users, and even lower our daily operational costs.

Best career or work advice you ever received.

I am continually amazed by the support and selflessness of my co-workers. Shout out to my current supervisor Bob Weiseman who has always and will always continue to “lead by example”. I have learned that regardless of the title or position you hold, no job is too small. Don’t be afraid to stick your foot in the ground and get dirty. I have always admired his work ethic and I will strive to carry on some of the same values throughout my career.

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