Dennis Mayo: Fixing Mr. Fix-It

“Dennis Mayo?  Dennis Mayo?”

This is what you hear coming across the handheld radios every morning at Urbana University campus.

Maintenance, grounds, housekeeping, and Campus Safety carry handheld radios to keep in touch with each other. This allows for communication between these departments to be able to work together to respond to problems that arise.  

On a campus where people are treated like family, Mechanicsburg native Dennis Mayo has been Urbana University’s maintenance team’s Mr. Fix-It for more than 16 years.


Dennis Mayo, a friend to all, is pictured with a furry pal.

Campus Safety is calling and checking in with the problems from the night before. There can be a problem with a student getting locked out of their room, a toilet overflowing, or the air conditioning and heating system not working. Sometimes it could be a student not being able to start their car, a flat tire, stuck in the snow, a broken towel bar in their room, retrieving dorm keys or a Frisbee on the roof, a stopped up toilet, sink, bathtub, or a light bulb that has burnt out. These are the everyday calls received from students, faculty, and staff.

And, don’t forget the keys—there are keys to every building and every room on campus. Often you have to have three, maybe four, keys to get to your final destination – dorm rooms, classrooms, or offices. There has to be someone that knows what every key goes to and where by just looking at the key shape or the code on the key. Well, that person is Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Mayo.

He not only knows the keys and lock system, but he knows every kind of light bulb in each building and room, as well. He is the person that orders the light bulbs, the batteries, motors, and filters for the heating and cooling systems. He orders the broken window glass and screens, window shades, wooden doors and glass doors. Do you know how many buildings are on campus?  

Each building has a maintenance room or two. Dennis knows where everything is stored and what is in each mechanical room. Sometimes the heating and cooling systems in the buildings are old or parts are obsolete, therefore, someone has to fabricate something to make the system work and Dennis manages these projects. He always seems to get a few more years out of a part and is always trying to figure out how to save money on parts.  He’s resourceful and will call different vendors to get the cheapest price for the same item, as if the money was coming from his own pocket.

“Dennis Mayo. Dennis Mayo.”

Dennis has been on every roof on campus, looking for the leaks, patching holes, and unclogging the drainage systems. He knows what kind of roof every building has, the type of shingles, or if it has a rubber roof, and he even knows when it was last patched.  

There are inspections to do all the time. Each building has a different builder, different heating and cooling systems, often the soft water systems are different, the hot water tanks are different, and he remembers the parts for each. The different inspections include elevator inspections, grease trap inspections, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, back flow water inspections, and hood inspections in the Commons and White Family Grill. All of these inspections have to be scheduled and Dennis Mayo is there to manage them, securing a purchase request for each inspection and ensuring that they are all done.

It is not uncommon for Dennis to get calls on weekends or evenings after hours from Campus Safety if they cannot solve a problem. He will come in and fix the problem and will come back into work the very next day.

“We need Dennis Mayo. Dennis Mayo?”

Dennis is always on the go, always on the move, checking on the work of his 17 colleagues and following up on something that he worked on the day before to make sure it is still working. He is, after all, the Maintenance Supervisor.  Coming back to the office after-hours checking phone messages, ordering parts, checking for new work orders turned in or problems that were called in. He never gets mad or angry about what is asked of him; neither frustrated nor upset.

It’s likely that many more things that Dennis Mayo does have been left out; this only scratches the surface. He has helped countless people at the University in ways that are immeasurable.  At Urbana University, he knows how every building works and each detail in the different facilities.  But, in his personal life, there has been a major change.

On July 6, Dennis was in an unfortunate mowing accident that resulted in paralysis from the waist down.  As a “fixture” at Urbana, consider showing your support for Dennis by contacting Kim Gibson at Urbana University to send a card or well wishes at or 937-484-1203.

There will also be the Donations for Dennis Benefit on Saturday, October 12 from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Woodstock, Ohio.  Proceeds will assist with medical bills.  For more information about the event or how to support Dennis, contact his daughter Stacia Mayo Dean ’01 at 937-869-0647 or email Cash gifts can also be made at Security National Banks, payable to Donations for Dennis Benefit.

This story was written by Kim Gibson, Sodexo Facilities Administrative Assistant, who has been with Urbana University since 2006 and lives in Urbana, OH.


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