Thousands of students pass through the turnstiles and fill their plates with fruits, veggies, pasta, chicken wings, pizza or sandwiches. With thousands of dirty dishes, bowls, spoons and forks, what happens if your dishwasher suddenly stops working?
That’s when you call Eddie Faulkenberry.
Faulkenberry came to UGA in 2002, and over the past 20 years has worked his way up to Foreman Maintenance for Dining Services.
“I walked in the front door and asked for an app,” he said. “They hired me to cook barbecue.”
Fulkenberry worked part-time as a cook, then full-time in the pantry before joining the maintenance team in 2005. He worked in maintenance for 15 years before becoming the foreman for the dining services team.
“The guy who was here a long time ago taught me a lot,” said Faulkenberry, but he said a lot of what he does while he works. “I learn something new every day.”
No two days are the same for Fulkenberry, and he often has no idea what’s coming his way when he gets to work in the morning.
He said, “You never know what you’re going to do, and you never know what to do when you get here because all kinds of things are happening.” That very morning, the Bolton Dining Commons power was off for a while, but Faulkenberry and his team helped get it working.
You take Faulkenberry and the other two members of the maintenance team every day as he comes.
“The three of us deal with whatever we are asked to do and any work orders that come in overnight,” he said. “When we go home on Friday and come on Monday, we usually have a large amount of work orders, like fixing ovens, washing dishes, etc,” he said.
In May, Faulkenberry was awarded the Unsung Hero for Finance and Management, a recognition for employees who are often not publicly celebrated for the exemplary work, stability and reliability of their team.
His nomination said that Faulkenberry “literally has his hand in the success of every food service facility. …without his knowledge and ability to repair and maintain food service equipment, food service would not be able to operate at the level we do.”
Faulkenberry says the environment at UGA is part of the reason he continues to make his way into dining services, even meeting his wife here on campus.
Now, they enjoy taking trips to the mountains, beach and watching UGA football matches together.