Members of Boston College’s staff serve as the heartbeat of this institution. Our community is incredibly fortunate to have this team of “Men and Women for Others,” tirelessly working to ensure the standard of living we have become so accustomed to on this campus. We hope to recognize their impact through their stories. This is Frank Martins’ story. Check out the others here.
Thirty-three years ago, love brought Frank Martins to Boston College.
“I was working at Mass General Hospital,” Martins said. “My wife was actually a student here, she was living in Edmonds when I was dating her … so I never in a million years thought I would end up being here.”
When an electrician position opened up at BC, Martins jumped at the chance to get closer to his soon to be wife, and the University accepted him with open arms.
Soon enough, Martins found himself falling in love with Chestnut Hill, soon securing a promotion to supervisor of the electric shop. Electrical is Martins’ bread and butter: The Peterson School, a training ground for people interested in working in the facilities world, has been Martins’ second home for over 30 years. He’s taught electrical during his entire stint there.
Martins cites an electrical project as the one he’s most proud of being a part of. He and his electrical team attacked the Commonwealth Ave. garage to make the place better lit. It required a ton of work and an coordinated effort in order to make sure the lights were correctly installed. Martins found being a part of large projects really rewarding, and the Comm. Garage project served as a foundational one.
Martins is also one of the few people who can claim to have been to the top of Gasson Tower to repair the clocks and bells in BC’s signature building.
Eighteen years into his tenure as an Eagle, he worked in the mechanical shop on an interim basis twice before being made supervisor of the mechanical side of facilities. After 12 years on the mechanical side, Martins’ dream job got created, specifically with the veteran facilities man in mind.
Three years ago, Dan Bourque, vice president of Facilities Management; Marty Dougal, associate vice president of facilities services; and Dave LaMarco, director of technical services for facilities, asked Martins if he’d be willing to serve as the liaison between capital and facilities. Capital works on all the large scale building projects, while facilities has its hand in every aspect of upkeep on every BC property. Martins’ experience on both the electrical and mechanical sides of facilities made him uniquely qualified for such a leadership position, in addition to his masters in electrical, teaching experience, as well as his insider knowledge of how to put together projects at BC thanks to his extensive experience.
He compares himself to the Patriots when trying to explain how he factors into the facilities team.
“The Patriots have the offensive and the defensive teams, and I’m the special teams,” Martins said. “I’m that bridge that connects both the capital and the maintenance.”
With his new position, Martins sees every single aspect of every project, having his hands on them from beginning to end. He serves as an advisor for capital as they put projects together, while also serving as facilities’ “eyes and ears” so the teams can work more efficiently together.
He loves his team members—when he showed this author the facilities offices in Ignacio, he beamed with pride as he introduced various members of the office, many of whom have worked with Martins for years and years.
“I love what I do,” he said. “Not too many people can say they come to work with a smile—I really come to work with a smile … The best part, in a word, is solving problems … I love solving the problem for [members of the community.]”
In a sense, Martins sees his role as a customer service representative. His love for his job, BC, and the community gives him a unique perspective. He understands that in order for facilities to be at the top of their game as a team, they can’t just be concentrating on big projects and bragging about being at the top of Gasson Tower, they need to treasure those opportunities while also making sure to serve as many of the needs as possible of the greater BC community—whether that be students, faculty, or other staff members.
“We get to be a part of the goal of the University,” Martins said. “That’s customer service.”
When you think about it, the veteran facilities man has had his hands on virtually every aspect of the campus at this point. Every meeting that has to do with anything—athletics, dining services, capital projects, and more—Martins has a seat in. The blueprints on his desk at the moment are those for the new Institute for Integrated Science and Society building that is currently in planning stages. In a way, what that building will look like, and more importantly what it will contain, will have Martins’ fingerprints on it.
His bosses wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Having Frank in this role over the past 2 years has generated improvements in communication and coordination,” LaMarco wrote in an email. “His ability to marshal resources and coordinate responses between the groups has been viewed by both sides as invaluable.”
Martins’ effectiveness and dedication to BC have been evident for a long time. His first boss gave him a gift many years ago that to this day sits on the bookshelf opposite his desk.
“My first boss, Joe Ducey, in the electric shop, because his wife is also from BC … they both gave me that cup that’s over there,” he said.
Upon closer inspection, the mug isn’t just a blank maroon mug after all.
“BC Is My Life,” it reads.
Thirty-three years after he first arrived on campus, it’s love that keeps Frank Martins an Eagle.
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor