TC at Work: Suzanne Jablonski | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC at Work: Suzanne Jablonski

Suzanne Jablonski is Director of Facilities at TC. She oversees the plant operations of the campus, which includes both academic and residential buildings.
TC at Work: Suzanne Jablonski

By Suzanne Guillette

Who She Is

Suzanne Jablonski is Director of Facilities at TC. She oversees the plant operations of the campus, which includes both academic and residential buildings.

Road to TC

Jablonski was fresh out of college when she first worked at Newark Airport for the now defunct Peoples Express Airlines. Acting as Team Manager for Peoples, Jablonski had a range of responsibilities that included opening airport terminals throughout the nation. She got involved in the construction of Terminal C at Newark Airport and became enthralled with facilities and project management. “Everything clicked into place like a big puzzle with many revolving facets,” she says.

Working for Peoples left Jablonski with a high threshold for tension-filled situations. “I learned how to keep calm, carry and just have fun with the job,” she says.

That lesson has been a frequent asset during a career that has spanned more than 25 years and several challenging assignments. As a project manager for an Israeli-based project management company, Jablonski had responsibility for many challenging construction projects. Working with a Jones Lang LaSalle, a major real estate management company, she oversaw Wachovia’s facilities, for the Mid-Atlantic region. She recalls one afternoon when all the underground piping burst, and her team had to keep a peaceful atmosphere for the 500 plus people on site, as water rushed across the floors.

“We had to convince everyone that everything was going to be OK,” Jablonski says. “And it was.”

Jablonski’s official tenure as TC’s Director of Facilities began in January 2011. “It’s like always having 20 balls up in the air and making sure none of them fall,” she says of the job

Best Part of the Job

“Being here is really fun,” Jablonski says. “I work with a great group of people.”

This year, she experienced her first TC commencement. “The graduates were so excited and bright,” she says, adding, “I’m lucky to be a part of such an amazing place that produces amazing people.”

Recently, during a special education arts festival at the College, Jablonski noticed a young girl with significant disabilities singing, “We are the Champions.” As the girl belted out the song, a young boy in a wheelchair started cheering her on. A nearby student helped him stand up, so that he could offer extra encouragement. Recalling how she teared up, Jablonski says, “I’ve managed millions and millions of square feet—and this was one of the most special moments I’ve seen. It makes you realize what’s important.”

In Spare Time

When she’s not putting out metaphorical fires at TC, Jablonski spends time with her husband and their fifteen year old daughter, who was recently accepted to the Manhattan School of Music Summer Program. Jablonski calls her daughter “the most wonderful, challenging, important thing in my life.”

Jablonski, who grew up taking ballet classes, enjoys attending dance and theater performances. But when it comes to total relaxation, she says, “My favorite thing in the whole world is to sit on the beach read a book and have a glass of wine.”

Did You Know?

A gourmet cook, Jablonski loves to entertain. She loves all types of cuisine, including Middle Eastern and Italian, and is always searching for the freshest ingredients for her recipes. “When I have the opportunity to actually have down time I love to spend it at my home, being with and entertaining my family and friends.”

Published Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2011