University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Facilities Manager Vows to Leave UCSF Greener Than She Found It

By Karen Gehrman | HDFCCC Communications | October 15, 2019

Facilities Manager Vows to Leave UCSF Greener Than She Found It

Adele Dow retires in October 2019 after many years of service with the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Long-time facilities manager Adele Dow retires at the end of the month with 18 years of service to UCSF, all served at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. A champion for the environment, Dow organized an Eco-Fair at the Center in 2006, and began a campaign to end bottled water in the research buildings in 2007. Given her long tenure at the Center we asked her to reflect on this milestone and the many changes that have occurred since her start in 2001.

Q. What lessons will you take from your experience at UCSF and share with others in your community?

A. Our lifestyle choices influence our health more than many people realize. Fortunately, there are not many in my personal circle who smoke, but many friends and members of my church community still need greater awareness of the powerful benefits of diet and exercise. I will try to encourage positive changes in those areas, such as suggesting that the church not serve sugary drinks at youth events.

Q. What has been the most rewarding/challenging project you've undertaken in your 18 years with the HDFCCC?

A. A professional high point was participating in planning for and moving into the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building at Mission Bay. I was able to contribute to so many different facets in the process -- providing information to Dr. Frank McCormick (then-HFCCCC Director) to support him in decision-making about space allocations; working with the faculty and lab managers to create and implement our shared services program; and participating in planning meetings with the many campus departments that work together to build a building!


Adele Dow UCSF Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building

Adele Dow with colleagues Ofelia Torres and Ovidio Velasquez in the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building in 2013.  

Q. You have been a champion for sustainability in the workplace, what do you think UCSF is doing best to promote a greener campus?

“Sustainability and health are tightly linked, like two fingers on the same hand.”
Adele Dow, retiring Facilities Manager

A. There are initiatives underway at all levels of the University that allow everyone to participate in some way. A starting point for every individual is learning to sort waste correctly. Then there are work group initiatives: lab members organizing glove recycling program with vendors; and clinical research coordinators sending expired kits to the student-run Remedy group which seeks appropriate reuse of those supplies. And, at the System level, the UCOP pledge that the System will be carbon neutral by 2025, transitioning the shuttle fleet to electric vehicles, and ensuring that buildings under construction are more energy efficient.

Q. You are an avid traveller, where are you looking forward to visiting first after retirement?

A. Mountains are calling me! I’m interested in doing some hiking in many of the beautiful mountains areas around the US and world. Alaska is a priority, Southeast Asia, Patagonia – send me your recommendations!

Q. What will you miss about working at the HDFCCC?

A. My colleagues, of course! I’ll miss the relationships, and working on projects together!