Toilets Flush. Lights On.

“I make sure the toilets flush and the lights come on.”  This is the way I described my job to the Girl Scouts who visited Target headquarters for career day.  I am sure they were not overly impressed with my job at first.  After I explained the technical planning that goes into making sure the plumbing and electrical systems work properly, they nodded in agreement at how important this role is for Target.

My name is Renae, and my team is responsible for the maintenance strategies for the plumbing and electrical systems at nearly 2000 stores.  Nearly everyone who shops at Target will recognize the systems we manage; the exterior signs, the lights inside the store, the neon that greets you when you walk in, the hot water used to make the coffee, the restroom fixtures like toilets and hand sinks.  We also manage the systems that go un-noticed to most people because you don’t see them when you shop the store; the water piping from the street to the building, the sanitary sewer under the slab, the water heaters, the conduits and power wiring and the emergency generator that starts up during an interruption of utility power.

I admit…  this still doesn’t sound like a glamorous job at the trend-setting, fashion-forward company we all love.  But someone has to do it.  And that’s me, along with a talented team of analysts, program leaders, and technical experts.  We also rely on our service providers and technicians who support our teams’ strategies at the store level.

I came into this role as an operations manager after being in the engineering department for nearly 8 years.  I am a mechanical engineer by education and experience, and designed the plumbing, heating, cooling and fire protection systems at several Target stores in urban locations like Brooklyn, NY and Atlanta, GA.

I love my job and am excited to use this blog to share my behind-the-scenes stories of managing the operations side of the plumbing and electrical systems at Target.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

 

  • Shelly Torniainen

    February 5th, 2015

    You’re awesome Renae! Love reading this!

    Reply
  • Renae Torborg

    February 6th, 2015

    I do love my job. What kinds of things would be interesting to read more about?

  • Loya Olsen

    February 6th, 2015

    Wow! I am impressed. This is really informative.

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 10th, 2015

    Thanks Loya. I am having fun at work!

  • Cory Bauman

    February 6th, 2015

    Great first blog Renae!

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 10th, 2015

    Thanks for the reply Cory. Next topic… The value of store tours. Remember our store visit at 4am? While the middle of the day for some people, that was early for me!!!

  • Vivian Olsen

    February 7th, 2015

    Glad you are on the Target team.
    Very interesting. Good Job.

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 10th, 2015

    Thanks for the comment, Mom! I think I have a cool job and as you know love to tell the stories. Watch for another post soon.

  • Sheila Cohen

    February 9th, 2015

    Thanks for sharing Renae! Love the write up and was so glad to be there to see you share your story with the girl scouts – you did a great job tailoring it for them! If you are edit the blog, would be interesting to hear more about what it means to “manage” the system now compared to the traditional engineering design phase.

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 10th, 2015

    Thanks, Sheila. That’s a great blog topic idea – I will share some of the things I have learned in solving problems as an operations manager compared to the way I solved problems as an engineer.

  • Ray Getsug

    February 10th, 2015

    Nice blog Renae! I sure enjoyed helping you and your department during my career with TGT. It was the best! Sorry, I’m not still there to lend a hand to you and especially Brian, but there’s a lot to be said for being semi-retired. Keep up the good work and be well! Ray :-)

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 11th, 2015

    Thanks for the reply, Ray. We have a lot of challenges in the plumbing systems and my job is to make sure the challenges do not affect our guests and team. I’ll share more details on our focus areas in future posts.

  • Renae

    February 11th, 2015

    We miss you too!

  • Sheri Marnell

    February 10th, 2015

    Impressed Renae, writing a blog! Definitely not my strength.
    Other topics – store tour could be fun like mentioned above or sharing some fun facts or interesting stories…like what we had to do for the NY store with all the toilet issues :-). Help the rest of target understand the daily issues that we need to solve!

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 11th, 2015

    Thanks Sheri! I will post some content in the near future around the last store tour I took with my team. It’s valuable insight into our maintenance strategies when we speak directly with the team at the site. Thanks for reading!

  • Paul Dearey

    February 11th, 2015

    Hi Renae,
    Sounds like an interesting position you’re in.

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 13th, 2015

    Hey Paul – thanks for commenting. I learned everything I know about plumbing design from you. Thank you for that! I’m working on my next blog post. I think I will highlight the life-size drawings of the plumbing risers we made as a template to make sure all the pipe would fit in the triangular-shaped plumbing chase wall.

  • Tammy

    February 17th, 2015

    Look forward to reading your blog Renae! Keep posting those wonderful sewage pics!

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 20th, 2015

    Thanks Tammy. I’ll keep looking for the best pictures.

  • Lisa

    February 19th, 2015

    You go girl! When the toilets flush and the lights are on…its another perfect day at Target!!

    Reply
  • Renae

    February 20th, 2015

    Thanks Lisa. It’s the little things that make all the difference. Agreed!

  • Laura

    August 21st, 2016

    Wow! That is a lot to take care of. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading about your job. Maybe not a glamorous one but one that is necessary. Coffee for everyone there then?

    Reply

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