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Monday 24 January 2022 2:51pm

annieblairmainAnnie Blair was a natural for the University's custodial services manager role

A bubble of laughter and energy seems to surround the University's new custodial services manager, Annie Blair.

Maybe that is because when she first arrived in Dunedin as a backpacker from Kent following the Lions rugby tour in 2005, Annie and her partner thought “everything you want is on your doorstep . . . beautiful beaches, access to everything . . . we love Dunedin's diversity”.

Now, they have now lived in the city for 13 years and are New Zealand citizens.

Annie started working in project support with CPG Global (formerly Duffill Watts & King) before moving to the Otago Polytechnic as a coordinator for capital works and everyday-business campus projects for eight years.

University of Otago Property Operations Senior Manager Stu Casey says those roles made Annie a natural for the custodial services manager position because they involved stakeholder engagement, budgeting and budget reviews, resource allocation, tender preparations, and auditing.

Sussing out

Annie says while working on the Otago Polytechnic's student village Te Pā Tauira construction project she was also introduced to the Living Building Challenge – the philosophies applied to the design include diverting waste material from landfill and tracking both the diversions and waste streams (by weight or volume) during construction.

This led to Annie completing a Graduate Diploma in Sustainability, focusing on construction waste.

Now, she is doing a Master of Professional Practice in Environmental Sustainability, focusing on reducing waste through a collaborative culture change.

That is why she initially became the University's waste and recycling coordinator – she was “keen to actually put this study into physical practice”. Only nine weeks later, she became Custodial Services Manager.

Stepping up

Annie has brought most of her current waste and recycling duties into her new manager's role, along with the cleaning and mailroom portfolios.

She is “extremely excited by this opportunity” and how she can continue to weave environmental sustainability into the portfolio of custodial services that “naturally align”. The services all do important work in the background to help create an outstanding campus environment for staff and students.

Annie's overall aim for her position includes building relationships, by listening and communicating.

She feels lucky to have a great team of people in the stores, cleaning service and mailroom, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is looking forward to learning from them and working as a solid team.


Early this year, Annie will be focusing on implementing our University's new cleaning contracts and continuing to promote recycling by rolling out Method bins, which are going into the central library, health sciences and public/common areas on the Dunedin campus.

At home

Annie and her husband, who got married in New Zealand, have a seven-year-old daughter and a lifestyle block.

They share it with sheep, geese, chickens, ducks, a goat called Billy, a Labrador called Sully, and Delia the pig.

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