Kansas City, KS

LaWayne Smith – known fondly as “Wayne” by his close friends and people who mishear his name – is a reliability rockstar. He started his career in the Air Force, earning his degree and working all the while. LaWayne describes being driven by the desire to serve from a young age, and sees his current role in Asset Management at Kansas University Medical Center as doing just that. LaWayne explains,

The work we do day in and day out at KUMED to improve asset reliability really is life-saving. We support the laboratories, so by doing our job efficiently and effectively, we help the lab techs to create life changing medical advancements. 

LaWayne Smith, thank you for everything you do. Your lifetime of service and honest desire to help those around you is amazing, and we’re grateful to be a part of your journey!

How did you get started in maintenance?

I was originally born in Alabama, but grew up as a military brat. By the time I went to college, I had lived all over the U.S. I had this desire to serve from a young age and have spent 24 years of my life in the U.S. Air Force. While I was on active duty, I went to college and got my degree. Then, during my time in the Air Force, I had three different career fields – all of which are maintenance related.

First, I worked in Munitions. Next, I cross-trained into Civil Engineering. I worked with the maintenance and construction teams within the Air Force. And finally, I was an Operations Manager. I was in charge of work requests, maintenance planning, maintenance scheduling, and more. Everything that a task needed from cradle to grave, I was responsible for capturing all of the relevant info.

I retired from the military in 2016 and started working at KUMED. I think people are drawn to certain things. You end up getting better and better at something, so you’re pulled toward it. I’m glad to be continuing to build on what I learned throughout my years of service.

What is one of your proudest achievements?

That’s a hard one to answer! I think achievements are about life-long learning. The successes that we have are built upon everything leading up to it, including the failures that we all also have.

Personally, my proudest achievement is having my kids. Professionally, if I had have to pick one achievement, I’d say winning the Up-and-Comer Award from UpKeep or getting my CMRP certification. That’s two, but it’s that type of step in my career that I’m proud of!

What is one thing you wish people knew about your job?

Asset management definitely isn’t all about money; rather it’s about creating value. Because of the journey that we take with maintenance, reliability, and asset management, you’re continuously reducing the use of resources and trying to be more responsible with people’s time, money, and energy.

So, really, I’m here to improve the lives of my staff and my community. We create value in the tasks that we’re doing and not doing to streamline resources and time / energy spends across the board. This role is crazy in the way I balance asset management with managing and supporting my team and community. I really do think we are the silent professionals, on call for many, but not everyone understands the whole picture of what the work we’re doing entails.

Thank you, LaWayne!