Physical Plant receives industry Effective and Innovative Practices Award

July 26, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Office of Physical Plant (OPP) was selected for the 2017 APPA Effective & Innovative Practices Award for its submission, "Penn State’s APPA Credentialing Cohort Program." Award recipients were recognized July 21 during the 2017 APPA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

“Phillip Melnick, director of Buildings and Grounds at OPP, and I were honored to receive the award on OPP’s behalf last week,” said Beth Clark, OPP budget analyst. “APPA’s recognition of OPP’s commitment to professional development and credentialing is a significant validation of our efforts. We are hopeful that other institutions will adopt this cohort approach and enjoy the same benefits — affirmation of our professional knowledge in facilities management and a sense of shared experience and camaraderie among participants.”

Penn State’s APPA Credentialing Cohort Program was started in January 2014 to educate employees covering APPA’s Body of Knowledge and certify employees as Educational Facilities Professionals (EFP). After implementation of an interactive learning platform by APPA, OPP’s cohort program is now facilitated by credentialed professional staff at OPP, covering both OPP and APPA policies, procedures and best practices. To date, the program has successfully credentialed more than 90 employees, while simultaneously strengthening camaraderie within OPP.

“The Effective & Innovative Practices Award recognizes new programs or significant restructuring to existing programs that will enhance service delivery, lower costs, increase productivity, improve customer service, generate revenue, or otherwise benefit the educational institution,” said Paul Wuebold, APPA’s vice president for professional affairs and the chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee. “This year’s selections demonstrate the breadth of projects that can be considered, ranging from campus energy projects to data collection methods to professional development efforts.”

Submissions were assessed on criteria measuring institutional benefit; innovativeness, creativity and originality; portability and sustainability; management commitment and employee involvement; and documentation, analysis, customer input, and benchmarking.  Projects displaying a high level of innovation and adaptability for implementation at other schools had the best chance of being favorably ranked.

Other 2017 recipients of the Effective and Innovative Practices Award are: The University of Texas at San Antonio, Grand Valley State University, Oklahoma State University and University of British Columbia. Each of the five schools are eligible to receive a cash award sponsored by SIEMENS.

APPA, previously known as the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, promotes leadership in educational facilities for professionals seeking to build their careers, transform their institutions, and elevate the value and recognition of facilities in education. APPA is the association of choice for more than 12,000 educational facilities professionals from 1,300 educational institutions in North America. APPA is recognized as an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer. Learn more at

Last Updated July 26, 2017