Russ Winkels of Perham named Minnesota Facilities Management Manager of the Year

Winkels was honored by his peers at the Minnesota Association of Educational Facilities Management Professionals Conference and Trade Show in St. Cloud, Minnesota on September 30. The association consists of five regional chapters and more than 700 people in the areas of facilities, grounds, health and safety operations for schools and higher education in Minnesota K-12.

Winkels also won the 2019 Outstanding Contributor Award.

“This award was a pleasant surprise, as it has been recognized by peers and suppliers in the state of Minnesota,” Winkels said in a school district press release. “The MASMS group encourages networking and collaboration with others to discuss unique and common issues that schools work with on a regular basis. Working together has saved us time and helps create positive solutions for our school buildings.”

Winkels was instrumental in launching the Western Chapter 10 years ago; the chapter is made up of school districts and vendors in west-central Minnesota.

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Winkels was first appointed Technology Coordinator for Perham Public Schools in 1995, when there was only a network of 15 computers with a server. He was responsible for the HVAC building automation and security cameras. He became facilities director in 2014, during the construction of the new high school in the district.

Perham-Dent High School principal Ehren Zimmerman said Winkels embraced the post and did a great job in the past 10 years they’ve worked together. He praised Winkels as a very nice person who relates to many people.

“I appreciate how respectful Russ is for the work our teachers, paraprofessionals, administrative assistants and kitchen staff play in the education provided to every student at PHS,” Zimmerman said in the statement. “It pays a lot to the school district and the community when people are recognized with such honorable awards like this one. We are grateful for Russ’s leadership and for being a valued member.

Perham-Dent Superintendent Mitch Anderson said Winkels’ loyalty and passion to Perham schools and the community is unmatched.

“He is very proud of our facilities and will do everything possible to make sure everything runs smoothly for school, games, shows, tours, etc. Said Anderson. “After the completion of our new high school in 2018, Perham Schools has become a showcase for schools across the state. We have organized hundreds of visits to school districts and community partners over the past three years, and the positive feedback we receive on the design and maintenance of our K-12 facilities is at its peak. Winkels has been instrumental in maintaining that image now, three years after the novelty wore off. “

The new Perham High School is built with sustainability and technology in mind.  (Marie Johnson / Focus)

The new Perham High School is built with sustainability and technology in mind. (Marie Johnson / Focus)

Anderson added that Winkels played a vital role in the construction, planning, design and implementation of the new high school.

“He had a unique view of the potential negative factors during this time and would come up with solutions in advance to avoid problems in the future. His insight is extremely valuable and appreciated. He has a common sense approach to most issues, which contractors and others appreciated during projects, ”Anderson said.


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