If you think construction workers would be a very unlikely group of University donors, think again.
After toiling on the construction of the new Biological Sciences Building for nearly two years, a half dozen workers from Ajax Building Corporation became pretty familiar with the University — the biology department in particular. In fact, they were so impressed that they decided to donate about $500 in vending machine revenue to the department.
Randy Smith, project manager for Ajax, explained the company frequently sets up its own vending machines at construction sites so workers have easy access to soft drinks and snacks.
At UNF, more than 160 builders worked on the ultra-modern Biological Sciences Building during the two-year construction phase.
When construction finished, the Ajax project management team got to decide how to spend the commissions paid by the vending machine company.
“Frequently the crew might decide to celebrate the completion of the project, but this time they decided to give something back to the University,” Smith said.
Ajax Superintendent Jody Wallick, suggested a donation be made to the biology department. The other members of the team unanimously agreed.
“They wanted to contribute a small token to the success of this project and show our appreciation for the opportunity to work on it,” he said.
Dr. Dan Moon, assistant chair of the biology department, said he was impressed with the commitment to education shown by the workers and their desire to help the biology program.
“Every donation makes a difference,” he said.
Ajax Building Corporation also made a significant contribution to help equip the Biological Sciences Building. To mark this gift, the University has named the office of the biology department chair in the company’s honor.
Ajax, which maintains one of its eight Florida offices in Jacksonville, also constructed the new College of Education and Human Services Building.
“UNF has a great team of individuals who understand the building process, and the donation is an indication how much we enjoyed working with them,” Smith said.
Members of the Ajax construction management team pose with UNF Project Manager Rich Elmore (second from right) outside the new Biological Sciences Building. Members of the team include (left to right) Randy Smith, John Irvin, Lon Neuman and (at right) Bill Byrne, Ajax President.