Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, May 2, 2001
Suki Manman, a wizard with windows, expands role of campus glass shop


Sukhdev "Suki" Manman, head glazier in the Facilities Operations glass shop, said he wouldn't care to even guess how many windows there are on the Stanford campus. But he knows exactly how many of them get broken: an average of three a day.

It's the glass shop's job to repair broken windows and leaking shower doors -- fitting repair work between other projects, such as installing skylights for the Hoover House renovation, replacing windows in buildings as they are retrofitted or installing mirrors in bathrooms being brought up to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And it's Manman's demeanor as he goes about his work that helped him earn one of three Amy Blue Awards given this year. His smile and positive attitude are contagious, said Chris Thompson, a student resident assistant at Roble Hall who often calls on Manman.

"I don't think I've ever seen him disappointed or angry," said Tony Gaspar, the other half of the glass shop's two-person team. "His thing is, he goes out of his way a lot."

Manman, who's been employed at Stanford for four years, said that during his boyhood in London, his parents taught him that you can't fix a problem by creating another problem. "Most people, if you talk to them with a smile, they'll talk back with a bigger smile," he said.

Manman, 43, came to the Bay Area in 1979 and found employment as a manufacturing plant supervisor. He longed, however, for work that was more hands-on. When he took a job as a purchasing agent for a glass company, he became fascinated by cutting and setting glass. After a period of apprenticeship, Manman became a union glazier.

Although he liked the high pay, he didn't like how union rules dictated a slow work pace, he said. Working at Stanford appealed to Manman, partly because of the benefits. He has two daughters, ages 11 and 14, that he hopes someday will attend the university. "I like to think ahead," he said.

His first job was as a temporary employee in the carpentry shop. After three months, Manman went to work in the glass shop; six months later, he was running it.

Manman already has made a tremendous difference in the service provided to students and other university customers, said Teresa Riseborough, housing facilities manager.

Before Manman took over, the shop only did work on the glass in academic buildings. Broken dormitory windows need to be fixed quickly, and work was subcontracted to local glass companies with a fast turnaround time. Manman asked for a chance to show that "the new kid on the block" could do the job. The glass shop now provides service for academic, housing and athletics departments, and completes about four major projects a year.

Manman's attitude is "there's nothing we can't take on," Gaspar said.

Sukhdev "Suki" Manman. photo: L.A. Cicero