When Boston began to take COVID-19 pandemic precautions last year, the Boston Lyric Opera had just opened a production of Bellini’s Norma. Artistic director Esther Nelson turned to a longtime friend of the organization to help them determine whether the season could go on.
For more than three decades, Guillermo “Bill” Banchiere has been one of the most recognizable people among our Massachusetts General Hospital colleagues. During his daily work as director of Environmental Services, Banchiere could often be found in almost every area throughout the hospital, assisting his staff with whatever was needed, overseeing multiple projects with colleagues or holding dozens of mini-meetings in the hallways. At the end of the year—after 34 years, millions of footsteps and thousands of projects—Banchiere will step down from his role to spend more time with his family.
Upon his arrival to Mass General in July 1986, Banchiere came into an Environmental Services department that was focused on maintaining and cleaning all areas of the hospital and in need of reorganization. “The department was known as the 'housekeeping' department,” says Banchiere. “It was a small department where all employees worked weekly rotation of days and weekends. One of the first things I did was hire dedicated weekend staff so that we could look at ways to restructure that worked for the hospital, staff and the department.” Under his leadership, the department has expanded from a small team of cleaners to one whose 500-plus employees work every day with vital areas such as Infection Control, Nursing, Patient Care Services and others across 4 million square feet of space throughout the hospital and its satellite and community sites to ensure that our patients, visitors and staff enjoy a safe and sanitary environment.
Guillermo “Bill” Banchiere
I’ve really loved working here. The support I’ve enjoyed from administration over the years has been phenomenal. Everyone allows you spend time thinking outside your job description. I feel proud to have worked with department directors who trust and support one another. I will miss that and my team—they are my MGH family.
(Outgoing) Director, Environmental Services
Reorganizing the department also meant the need for more operations managers, or staff who could help oversee the expanding number of hospital spaces that appeared with each new building. “We began to see that as a department we needed to start offering training opportunities to our staff, whether it was language, training and certification programs, citizenship and computer training classes and some mentoring programs,” says Banchiere. “We became much more than a housekeeping unit; we grew to be a department full of professional staff who worked closely with other departments to make sure the hospital functions smoothly.”
Throughout the years Banchiere looked for innovative ways to improve both his department and the hospital’s facilities. A huge proponent of sustainability and recycling practices, under his leadership in 2018 the hospital recycled 581 tons of cardboard, 612 tons of paper and 380 tons of food. Seeing how much it cost to dispose of medical waste, Banchiere proposed and ultimately oversaw the building of an onsite medical waste incinerator. It was later updated to the current autoclave sterilization system, making Mass General one of the only hospitals in New England to have its own waste disposal system.
“Bill is the epitome of someone who goes above and beyond in everything he does,” says Sally Mason Boemer, senior vice president for Administration and Finance. “He is often one of the first people to address issues that arise during hospital emergencies and can frequently be found working side by side with other hospital staff from all levels of the institution.”
For Banchiere, retiring is bittersweet. “Leaving Mass General gives me more time to spend with my sons and their families,” he says. “I’ve really loved working here. The support I’ve enjoyed from administration over the years has been phenomenal. Everyone allows you to spend time thinking outside your job description. I feel proud to have worked with department directors who trust and support one another. I will miss that and my team—they are my MGH family.”
Latoya Brewster, who has served as assistant director of the department, has been named to take the helm of Environmental Services. “There’s so much to say about Bill. I could not have asked for a better person to work with,” says Brewster, who has been part of the Mass General family since 2008. “He is a staunch and fierce advocate for every one of his staff and is truly beloved by everyone who knows him. With Bill, it’s not about what you say but how you make them feel. I am so humbled to count him as both a mentor and a friend.”
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- Staff Story
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