Most retail locksmiths have little interaction with institutional locksmiths. To better understand how alike and different the two sides of the profession are, I've interviewed David M. Hasty, CRL, locksmith foreman for the main campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Ill.
The U of I is a system of public universities in Illinois . It consists of three campuses: The original, main campus at Urbana-Champaign, known as “U of I” and “UIUC”; the downtown Chicago campus, known as “UIC” and the Springfield campus, known as “UIS”.
Following are the Ledger's questions and David Hasty's answers.
What was your experience before coming to the University of Illinois ?
I worked with two different local retail locksmith shops in Champaign-Urbana before coming to the University. I spent about seven years between the two and gained a great deal of experience in the general locksmithing field and in specific areas as well.
What made you decide to make the change to the institutional side?
I saw a number of things as opportunities for advancement. Because the U of I is so large, it is a major employer in this area. In addition to an increase in pay, there was the tremendous benefits package to consider. I feel this is a solid, prestigious organization to be a part of. I heard about an opening, checked it out and tested for it and was lucky enough to be hired.
How long have you been with the U of I?
At this point I've been with the university for almost 17 years.
What do you see as the big differences between retail and institutional locksmithing?
I think the biggest difference is in time constraints and the pressure to hurry up. Because a retail shop is in a profit set of mind, there is usually a rush to get this job done so you can get on to the next one. The faster you go, the more jobs you get done in a day, and hopefully increase the profits along the way.
A large majority of our work is maintenance and repair and it is more beneficial in the long run for our facilities to ensure the job is done in the best way possible and not necessarily the quickest.
How large a student population do you have here?
Our current enrollment is about 38,000 students of various types from graduate students to part-time attendees.
How many locksmiths are in your department?
Right now we have seven. We are budgeted for eight and are currently looking for a replacement to fill that opening.
How large is your campus regarding buildings or openings?
We used to have someone in facilities that would keep track of that pretty closely, but the recent phases of expansion and building have left us behind in our count. At last check, we had slightly over 110,000 openings.
We maintain every building on campus except student housing and that includes over 300 buildings. Many of those are smaller, secondary buildings, but there are over 120 primary buildings, each of which can include multiple floors, wings and additions.
You mentioned housing a moment ago. Doesn't your work involve student housing?
We do the entire campus except for student housing. On our campus, housing is a separate department. It's all SFIC and they have maintenance personnel that do all of their keying and key duplication. They also have carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. that do work strictly on student housing projects. They operate totally independently of our lock shop.
What types of primary hardware do you deal with?
Our biggest vendors are Schlage, Best, and SARGENT for locking hardware. Von Duprin and Precision fill our panic hardware needs, while LCN and Rixson account for most of the door closers.
We do have a number of other types of hardware including Corbin Russwin and Yale in various buildings. We really have a little bit of everything. On some of our pole barns in our Agricultural areas, we'll even see Grade 3 residential knobs that were originally supplied with the building. We've been using General Lock Grade 1 and Grade 2 levers to provide a cost-effective commercial lock that will key into our keying systems.