The Faces of Fordham Facilities Management

The department is responsible for several maintenance and building operations and services as the backbone of the university to function



The noise from students and atmosphere on campus are what John Borelli Jr. loves most about working in the mailroom.


Fordham Facilities Management is composed of the university’s post office, power plant operations and maintenance, grounds and custodial services, waste management and other recycling services, building operations and maintenance, as well as planning and construction. 

As stated on the university’s administrative offices website, the mission of Facilities Management at Fordham is to “effectively and efficiently provide maintenance, operational services and utilities services that support the faculty, staff and students in pursuit of excellence in their individual and institutional academic research and community objectives.” 

The lives of the people working behind the scenes at Fordham are what make up the inner workings of the university. This includes the maintenance and operations of the buildings by a large onsite workforce of technicians for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and other landscape services and campus operations that are integral to Fordham’s upkeep.

“The Mailroom Guy”: John Borelli Jr.

One of the most popular ways for students and facilities to interact is through the mailroom. Located in the hallway at the corner between McMahon Hall and the staircase leading to University Health Services, a line of students can often be found awaiting their packages around the corridor. Some stand with their earphones blasting music, others eagerly talk to their friends, but they are all in line to meet one man: John Borrelli Jr., the mailroom clerk at the window.

Borrelli holds the job of handing off packages to students and is recognized for his brisk pace of talking and spirit as he’s become known to the residents at Fordham Lincoln Center as  “the mailroom guy.” 

He also handles the incoming packages and mail that arrives at the mailroom from students, faculty and staff all across campus. Students come up to the mailroom window, display their Fordham ID, and he works accordingly to find and hand off the requested package, all while maintaining a conversation.

One of his most important responsibilities is to make sure that the mailroom stays on top of the latest requests.

“Even when we’re closed, we still have a lot of mail coming in, sorting everything out,” he said. “So that way, when we’re open, we’re ready to go again and hand out packages again.”

Despite the busyness that comes with interacting with so many students throughout the day, Borrelli loves the unique atmosphere of the campus, especially at Lincoln Center. He added that the sound of students in the hallways and the noise is an indicator of the traffic the mailroom receives. 

“It’s all about the noise, the activity,” he said. “Just hearing the volumes of all the students around … it’s a good sign to show that we’re really busy.”

Borelli mentioned that his love for the job comes with his love for Fordham and its campus.

“I’ve been here for so many years,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love Fordham.”

22 Years of Service: Antonio Gómez’s Experience at Fordham

For Mailroom Clerk Antonio Gómez Jr., their work in facilities is all about customer service. They  noted that it’s important for students to feel cared for, heard and welcomed when it comes to where their mail is.

“It’s about having enough patience and kindness to answer, maybe, the same question 20 times,” he said. “It’s a daily thing that we have to make sure that everything is in order.”

Gómez’s time in Fordham began in October 2000, when one of his friends found a posting for part-time work.

“I arrived from Mexico, and I didn’t know how to ride the subway,” they said. “I barely knew how to walk a couple of blocks, let alone come all the way to the Bronx and find where Fordham University was.”

“If you think about it, we spend more time with each other than we do with our families. So we are, in a sense, a family. It’s wonderful. The university is a very welcoming place.” Antonio Gómez Jr, mailroom clerk

After filling out the application, Gómez said that Fordham reached out to his friend and not to him. He added that he decided to take matters into his own hands and showed up to the Office of Human Resources where he was then given a job.

Gómez began working as a cleaner in Keating Hall, and then moved around to different departments. It wasn’t until they came to Lincoln Center that they became a worker full-time.

“If you think about it, we spend more time with each other than we do with our families. So we are, in a sense, a family,” he said. “It’s wonderful. The university is a very welcoming place.”

The biggest ongoing challenge that Gómez noted within their own work is finding space for all of the packages.

“Moving in and everything, we just have to be very creative to make sure everything fits in here,” he said. “It works out, and we deliver everything in a timely manner.”

Gómez noted that the best part about working in facilities is the people. They mentioned that they work with different groups on campus and have seen the students grow and change over their 22 years at Fordham.

No Real Typical Day: Richard Figueroa, Manager of Facilities Operations, keeping Fordham

Richard Figueroa, manager of facilities operations, oversees the grounds and custodial staff, keeping Fordham clean and functioning. (QUINCY REYES)

When asked about what a typical day in the life is for an employee at Fordham facilities, Manager of Facilities Operations Richard Figueroa was quick to admit that there is no such thing as a typical day. Figueroa oversees the grounds and custodial staff and their operations, which includes facilities management, water and electricity, as well as heat and air conditioning. 

“We address all issues throughout the buildings, any work orders students put in, any emergencies that happen,” he said. “With running a building, there’s always variables that you have no control over.”

Figureoa previously worked as a retail store manager and wanted to look for something different. With Fordham facilities covering a wide range of jobs and responsibilities, he was able to get his wish.

“I was looking for a different career,” he said. “A change of pace.”

Before becoming the manager of facilities operations in February, Figueroa began working at Fordham in 2016 and held positions as a mechanic and an operations supervisor.

Figueroa mentioned the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions is a new challenge facilities management faces alongside the rest of campus. He noted that some of the COVID-19 safety regulations that are in place make it tougher for students and staff to move throughout the campus, in regard to the need to regulate a larger campus population. 

“We don’t want to fall short and still maintain the same standard we had during COVID until we feel comfortable to pull back a little bit,” he said.  

The facilities department is currently working on projects which include the repavement of portions of the Lowenstein Outdoor Plaza and the reopening of the campus’ fitness center. Figueroa noted that the department has to coordinate around the day-to-day happenings of students in order to manage its construction schedule. 

He also added that keeping the campus safe, secure and healthy is a big part of why the facilities department needs to complete the new projects at hand, in connection to the updated safety regulations in place. Keeping the campus clean is just one part of that puzzle, and it is the thrill and challenge of new projects that keeps Figueroa excited and motivated to work.

“It’s something different every day,” he said. “You don’t get in a rut or in a routine.”

The motto goes, “New York is my campus, Fordham is my school.” To get a better understanding of Fordham University and its operations, learning more about the faces of its facilities management and their responsibilities is an integral part in understanding the latter half of the slogan.