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Sergeant At Arms

Mike Mayo

LBRE Black Advisory Committee Member Spotlight

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Michael Mayo, commonly called “Mike”, has worked at Stanford University since July 2, 1984 (37+ years). His current role is Manager of Thermal Systems Maintenance and his complete tenure has been with Land, Buildings and Real Estate’s Utilities Division. 

Early Years

Mike was born the second of six children to a father who retired from the Air Force when Mike was 12 years old, and a mother who worked on the very first Boeing 747 airplane at its plant in Everett, Washington. He began his career as a shipbuilder at the age of 18; mostly building and repairing Navy and Coast Guard ships. At age 22, Mike became a king crab and snow fisherman, fishing for one season in the Bering Sea out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" is filmed. 

Early Steamfitter days at Stanford (1987)
Early Steamfitter days at Stanford (1987)

When the shipbuilding contracts largely moved out of the state of Washington, Mike came to work at Stanford as a Steamfitter, later becoming proficient in steam metering, and eventually promoted to Steamfitter Specialist. During these early years, Mike also became an active member of the labor union - Service Employees International Union (SEIU) - twice elected as Vice President, served on two contract negotiating teams, and chaired the SEIU Local’s first African American Caucus. He was hired as Steam Shop Supervisor in 2005. 

Mike featured in Stanford News as a vanpool commuter from Modesto (1999)

Career Highlights

In 2008, the University began looking into ways to reduce its carbon footprint. This lead to a new and exciting $485M capital project named Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI); a new and transformative state-of-the-art energy system that incorporates solar power for electricity and a more efficient heat recovery component, with the goal of an innovative, clean, and more energy-efficient campus. The LBRE Steam Shop was called on first to help with decommissioning the University’s 1890 vintage steam system. Mike and his staff assisted in retrofitting buildings by removing steam pipes and replacing them with new low-temperature hot water conversion stations. Knight Management Center (Stanford Graduate School of Business) was the first customer of the newly-built conversion stations. As a result of the SESI project, the University was able to convert more than 80% of its buildings to a cleaner, more cost-effective low-temperature heating distribution system, in place of steam. 

Work with Affinity Groups

Mike currently serves as Sergeant at Arms on the LBRE Black Advisory Committee (LBRE BAC). Being the sole LBRE Sustainability & Energy Management (SEM) representative in LBRE BAC is very important to Mike, as he feels he has a pulse on what’s happening between SEM staff and SEM executive leadership. SEM currently has four groups; Energy Operations, Water Resources & Civil Infrastructure, Facilities Energy Management, and the Office of Sustainability, of which there are approximately 70 staff members – seven are Black staff.

Mike is also an active supporter of the Black Staff Alliance (BSA) - an affinity group in support of black Stanford employees - volunteering time and assisting with many of their events over the last 10+ years. Prior to that, he lead efforts to create lunchtime gatherings for black staff in LBRE Facilities Operations, many of which were off-campus lunch events that supported Black-owned restaurants and businesses. With Mike’s help, they were able to grow the events to include participation from other Stanford staff beyond LBRE.

BSA recently interviewed Mike Mayo and Bettye Price about their careers and experiences at Stanford – you can watch the session on BSA’s website:

Life Outside The Farm

Mike has two daughters - Marisha Smith, who has worked for Stanford School of Medicine since 2007, and Rosalyn (Rose) Cortez - both of whom were able to graduate college with the help of Stanford’s Tuition Grant Program (TGP). Mike is also a grandfather to nine grandchildren. He constantly gives God the glory for every breath he takes and surrounds himself with his closest friends who are also believers. His pastimes include attending Stanford sporting events, live concerts, camping, bowling, and traveling.