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Spartan Sagas

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Winter 2014

Keeping Campus Running

Ron Flinn and his team in Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities keep things running smoothly on MSU’s campus. How do they do it?

“I have, I think, the best physical plant team in this country,” says Flinn, who makes it a priority to recognize those who work so hard and often do so invisibly. “The folks are extremely talented and skilled. I can take you in any one of our units and show you people who are actually not appreciated as fully as they should be because a lot of the things they do are after hours and out of sight.”

After decades of service, Flinn, who has spent his entire professional career at MSU, is reluctant to talk about retirement.

“I am blessed, I believe, when I have people below me and above me asking me not to leave,” he says. “I started here in late September of 1957. It’s a little bit better place than when I arrived, and it’s a much stronger team than when I arrived. I’ve told people when it stops being fun I will leave. I’ve told other people that I will retire, and that’s sometime after the next Rose Bowl victory. No pressure on the coach here.”

Flinn has been instrumental in the design and construction of nearly 75 percent of the campus buildings and infrastructure completed during his tenure and knows that MSU is built to last. “MSU has an unlimited life and we need to put in quality stuff for the next generation and the generations to come,” he says.

Keeping Michigan State’s 5,200- acre campus running around the clock isn’t easy. But Ron Flinn and his team make it look that way.

“I work for everybody on this campus,” says Flinn, vice president for Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. “I like to think that our team provides the environment for the magic that takes place in the research labs and the classrooms.”

Flinn has been at MSU for more than 50 years. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1960, he was hired as a full-time employee and has served in a variety of professional roles since then.