Texas Tech University

Huckabee College of Architecture Wins Presidential Safety Award

Lucy Greenberg

November 6, 2023

Architecture Team

The college’s safety standards and innovations earned a $25,000 Presidential Departmental Excellence in Safety Award.

Texas Tech University's Huckabee College of Architecture was recognized with the Presidential Departmental Excellence in Safety Award at a ceremony held last week by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

At the front of this charge is Facilities Director Jeff Hoover, Unit Manager for Shops Hinton Vicks and Executive Director Lesley Nall Washington, J.D.

“Our shop facilities are an essential part of what we do and the educational opportunities we offer,” said Dean of Huckabee College of Architecture Upe Flueckiger. “The shops allow students to immerse themselves in state-of-the-art facilities and to test the haptic and tectonic qualities of architecture. 

“I am grateful to the awards committee who recognized the work of my brilliant colleagues, Jeff Hoover, Vinton Hicks and Lesley Washington. Their years of work organizing, planning and implementing the latest shop technologies has enhanced our learning community.” 

The college was presented with the award for substantial safety enhancements in its woodshop and digital fabrication lab, along with additions to staffing and upgraded protocol throughout the building.

The woodshop was renovated to maximize the number of students able to work in the space safely while also adding new worktables, a digital students sign-in system and developing the first woodshop training program on campus. 

A new exhaust system for the laser cutters in the digital fabrication lab has reduced the decibel levels in the lab while also eliminating high volatile organic compound levels.

The college hired a new unit manager to increase the level of supervision and cross-train student workers in both labs. 

The Presidential Departmental Excellence in Safety Award is presented annually to a department or similar academic unit to recognize excellence in safety, research, scholarly and creative activity and teaching. The award is presented to the winning department by President Schovanec and comes with a $25,000 fund to help with safety initiatives. Each department applying for the award must submit a plan of action with its application. 

“We have a culture of safety in the college; everyone buys in,” said Lesley Nall Washington. “Jeff and Hinton have designed and implemented processes that are consistently used and upheld. The student assistants in the shops also are our best partners. They are proud of the culture and help enforce it with other students.”