Groves Staff Feature: Facilities Team Todd Olson and Aaron Billstrom

Originally published in Groves Connections – Winter 2021.

We recently caught up with Groves all-stars Director of Facilities Todd Olson, and Facilities & Maintenance Supervisor Aaron Billstrom, who have been instrumental in maintaining the safety of our Groves students, staff, and community.

example of social distancing procedures at Groves during COVID-19

How long have you each worked at Groves?

TO: I have worked at Groves since May 2009, over 11 years.

AB: I have worked at Groves for 11 years, since November of 2009.

Can you share how long you have known each other prior to Groves?

TO: Aaron and I met during our senior year of high school. Over the years we would see each other here and there. After I started at Groves I needed some help on a contracting project and knew Aaron would be a great fit because he was a builder, and the rest is history.

stanchions used to socially distance Groves students during COVID-19

Many of Groves’ COVID protocols put in place were implemented by you and your team. What are some of the changes that were made to ensure safety?

  • Plexiglass barriers installed in many offices, classrooms, and the lunchroom.
  • HVAC fans now run constantly and the HVAC air filters are above the minimum MERV rating.
  • Added a full-time staff person to continuously clean the building, especially the high-traffic areas.
  • Changed to a new disinfectant product, an Ecolab peroxide multi-surface cleaner.
  • Added automatic sink faucets and toilets in all 18 of the buildings’ bathrooms.
  • Stanchions and floor stickers in the lobby and throughout the building to help with social distancing.
  • Hand sanitizer stations installed throughout the building.
  • Adjustments made to each classroom to accommodate for social distancing.

How are you continuing to keep the building safe?

  • Continuous disinfection by staff
  • Pursuing Ecolab Science Certification to ensure the highest standards of cleaning and disinfection are in place
  • Plexiglass barriers as requested
  • Adjusting needs as COVID protocols change

Would you like to share any silver linings of all of this?

TO: I believe that general knowledge, awareness, and daily hygiene practices have increased and will continue at a level that is higher than they were before COVID.

Describe some of your favorite moments while working at Groves.

TO: The 2009 building addition and upgrade, and Gala involvement.

AB: The Galas have been lots of fun.

How would you describe Groves in one word?

TO: Amazing.

AB: Transformative.

What makes Groves a special place?

TO: When we began employment with Groves it was for a job, but it has been eye-opening to see how it affects the families who need our services. We get to know many of the students from just regular school days. We have had the opportunity to have students on staff during the summer and this was a time where we had a chance to really learn about their past learning experiences and how Groves has helped them in amazing ways. We also get to know many parents and hear how finding Groves has turned their child’s life around, as well as the whole family.

AB: The work the teachers and staff do each day for the kids. Groves is a special place where kids do not get lost in the shuffle.


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