Chris Freas, director of IT Services, Facilities, is tireless in his devotion to his job. When he came to the position in 2017, Freas dedicated himself to streamlining the processes and improving the tools within Facilities. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Freas worked long hours to ensure that employees could continue to do their jobs, including continued maintenance of Mason’s facilities.
“Chris quickly mobilized his staff to inventory and allocate hardware and software so staff would be able to work from home,” said Nancy S. Pickens, director of program management in Facilities. “Thanks to his efforts, including improvements he initiated and implemented during the course of his tenure in Facilities, the transition from office to home for the entire staff was seamless. Work continued without interruption thanks to Chris’s calm demeanor and careful planning."
Freas, who graduate from Mason in 2001 with a degree in information systems administration, can now add being chosen for January’s Employee of the Month to his list of accomplishments.
Freas was quick to give credit to others: “My team deserves this award—I have a great team, and everything is a collaborative effort.”
Prior to joining Facilities, Freas worked in the Office of the University Registrar. When he joined the Facilities team, his priority was to modernize the workforce, which included ensuring they had mobile-friendly tools.
“My job is to ensure there are no roadblocks to executing plans for Mason and its resources,” said Freas.
When the pandemic hit, Freas and his team had to scramble to ensure that employees who were able to work from home had what they needed to do so. In addition, Freas had to mobilize Facilities so that it could continue to operate in a safe manner.
“Facilities is 24/7, and there are people who have been on site, out in the field the entire time,” said Freas. “We can do some things remotely, but the physical nature of our jobs means that I always need people on site. And they were always there for Mason.”
Freas said that his work ethic came from his father and other relatives.
“I was taught that if something needed to be done, you just did it,” said Freas. “If you start something, you own it and you take care of it.”
How he got here:
My wife and I moved from Seattle, Washington, to Virginia for her field of work. I worked while she attended school, and then it was my turn to go to school full-time. Mason offered me a full scholarship, so that made my decision very easy. I started working in the Register’s Office as work-study student doing IT support. My responsibilities increased, and I was changed to a student wage [position] and eventually hired on as a junior programmer/analyst.
Best day on the job:
Commencement is always a great day. The energy and excitement of the thousands of graduates hangs in the air. We get to sneak a peek into this profound moment as they all start out on their new paths, full of hope and dreams. It reminds me of our primary mission and why I work at Mason.
What he does when not working:
I’m always reading trade journals and the latest IT news. In my free time, I enjoy travel and baking. Pre-COVID-19, I always had a future trip booked. My goal is to visit every continent. I still need to visit Australia and Antarctica. I’m a pretty good baker. I like baking bread and desserts. I’m always trying the next best chocolate chip cookie recipe. A big soft molasses cookie recipe still eludes me. If you have a good recipe, please send it my way.