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Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 168 - October 23, 2018
In order for the UNLV School of Medicine to become a world-class center of excellence and innovation, we need to make smart decisions along the way. Thoughtfully planning our growth is key to the success of our operation. Whether it’s consolidating our clinics or building more space for our students, planning and managing those activities takes energy and expertise. Luckily, we have a director of space and facilities management who loves to conquer challenges not just on the job, but on weekends, too. I hope you enjoy getting to know Kim Case-Nichols. Reading about her athletic exploits will help you understand how she’s able to accomplish so much without ever slowing down.
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Kim Case Story
Kimberly Case-Nichols stands in front of a schematic of 1707 W. Charleston Blvd, one of the main clinic locations for UNLV Medicine.
When you walk into the third floor office of Kimberly Case-Nichols, the UNLV School of Medicine Director of Space and Facilities Management, it is not unusual to see her racing bike sitting alongside one wall.

On this afternoon she’s looking over some paperwork dealing with a clinic consolidation plan her team developed that will reduce lease costs by $700,000 a year. The plan includes four faculty department moves, six clinic moves and the transplanting of 300 staff. The challenge is making the moves with little to no downtime in patient care or productivity.

Movement, whether it’s during work or for recreation, is something Case-Nichols she regularly competes in triathlons is passionate about.

“I believe planning and logistics are the backbone to any industry success,” she says of working in facilities management. “Everyone has a specific role and when each person contributes, the sum of all the tasks is so much bigger than imagined. The team effort is so gratifying…”
Why did she take her present position with the school of medicine? “Frankly, I saw an opportunity to be part of history,” she says. “I thrive in an environment that is fast paced.”
At the end of her workday, she will take her bike down the elevator of the 2040 Building on West Charleston Boulevard, and ride the 13 miles to her Summerlin home. The 26 mile ride to and from work, she says, helps get her loose for the two to three miles of swimming, 75 to 100 miles of cycling and 15 to 19 miles of running she does each week for her triathlon training.

“I love to see what my body can do,” says Case-Nichols, who credits her husband, Bill Nichols, for her interest in cycling that began when she was in her late 30s. “When I met my husband, I had never ridden a road bike, nor did I want to. Somehow, he got me out for a leisure ride and before I knew it, I was equipped with a helmet, bike clips and a bike of my own.”

Her interest in the triathlon began not long after she fell in love with cycling. Soon she was competing in triathlons that range from 17 miles to the 70.3 mile Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.2 mile run). She completes that long distance race in less than eight hours, a time which puts her in the middle of the pack. Her greatest strength in the race is cycling.

This year, in the women’s 41-45 age group, Case-Nichols won the Las Vegas Corporate Challenge Bike Race for the UNLV Cycling team, her 38:22 min for the 12.4 mile time trial beating out a competitor by more than a minute. On Oct. 27 she’s doing a 100 mile bike ride to raise funds for multiple sclerosis.

“Being in shape helps my work,” she says. “Psychologically, you feel you can do anything.”

Her work is critical to the success of both the UNLV School of Medicine and its clinical arm, UNLV Medicine. She has direct involvement in developing and managing the physical environment for the future Medical Education Building and Faculty Practice Plan. “As our departments continue to grow in size and diversity of roles, so does the requirement for space type and quantity of space,” she says.

As so often happens with careers, Case-Nichols’ path to her present position was far from direct. She did her undergraduate work in film at Columbia College in Chicago, first freelancing as a camera assistant. Then she became a flight attendant for the now defunct ATA Airlines.

“In 2004, my airline career brought me to the Bay Area where I ended up doing my MBA at Notre Dame de Namur University and transitioning into my first facility job at Stanford University as a residential services coordinator.”

At Stanford, promotions came quickly. When she left the school, she was a manager of student maintenance, managing 40 multi-trade technicians and two administrative staff. She also developed a preventive maintenance program for 350 residences, offices and dining facilities.

When a director position in student affairs maintenance and facilities opened at UNLV in 2013, Case-Nichols jumped at the opportunity. Soon she was a key player in managing a department with a $2.3 million budget to support work at 17 buildings, including residence halls, dining facilities as well as the student recreation center and the student union and bookstore.
Kim Case running story 10 23 2018
Completing the Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.2 mile run)
Kim Case biking story 10 23 2018
100 mile bike ride on October 27th will raise funds and awareness for MS
Why did she take her present position with the school of medicine? “Frankly, I saw an opportunity to be part of history,” she says. “I thrive in an environment that is fast paced.”

For much of her working life Case-Nichols has been in male dominated environments.

“When I was a union camera assistant, I was always the only woman on the camera crew. The men often challenged my physical ability to carry equipment, set up and repair in the field... Earlier in my facilities career that started in 2004, I was in the 10 percent of women in facilities management at Stanford University. Often in my role, vendors and contractors are surprised to meet a woman in charge of maintenance trades groups. I had to work hard to learn how to coordinate trades on projects, repairs, and renovations to keep the facilities running smooth. I learned from spending time in the field with my team and just plain getting down and dirty, learning how to repair everything from pinholes in pipes, to replacing main electrical switch gear...”

Today, Case-Nichols, on the board of the Pacific Coast Association of Physical Plant Administrators, sees more women and minorities in facilities management. “Things are changing for the better,” she says.

One change that could come to Case-Nichols in the very distant future involves a far different kind of skill and facilities management. But once again she’ll have to get her hands dirty. 

“My early dreams were to be a baker and own a bakery,” she says. “That is still a pipe dream of mine.”
IN THE NEWS   Click to see recent stories about UNLV School of Medicine

The standard of education is improving with the addition of a medical school at UNLV. As the School of Medicine welcomed its second class of medical students with doctors educating future doctors who will hopefully stay in Southern Nevada.

"We need to start putting out enough doctors who want to stay here and make a difference. We are also bringing in talented doctors from across the country to teach those students and provide the very best medical care at our clinics," said Barbara Atkinson, dean of  UNLV School of Medicine .

Channel 13 Action News (ABC), October 18, 2018

The Southern Nevada Health District received notification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirming the first case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in a child in Clark County.

More than 60 cases of the condition  have been reported nationwide . AFM is a rare but serious condition. It affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, which can cause the muscles and reflexes in certain parts of the body to become weak. 

Channel 13 Action News (ABC), October 18, 2018
It is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, but only half of those know they have it.

All previous issues of  Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson , are available on our website.
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