Meticulous Problem Solver Takes Home Hobart Award

Mark Knox and David Holthouser with $1,000 prize check

Physical Plant staff honor Mark Knox (pictured at right) during a December award presentation event.

He’s the guy behind the controls, the one who makes sure dorm rooms and classrooms are warm during winter’s coldest days, and cool through August scorchers.

For Mark Knox, it’s all about efficiency—making sure all systems work and catching potential problems before they happen.

His co-workers and boss say his close attention to the details of Davidson College’s inner workings made the Physical Plant technician stand out especially during the past year’s COVID-19 challenges.

That’s involved measures such as making sure more outside air is coming into buildings and closely monitoring circulation to prevent the spread of the virus.

Knox, an energy management technician who’s held many positions during his nearly 30 years at Davidson, has received the college’s Hobart Award for 2020. 

“If there’s a temperature reading too high in the north wing of Chambers, Mark will see it, and send someone there to check it out, or go himself,” said David Holthouser, director of facilities and engineering. “Mark is an excellent diagnostician and problem solver. He’s extremely logical and strategic. He doesn’t just go for the quick fix, he goes back to the foundation to see exactly where and how the problem started."

“He’s also taken on a real mentoring role to help other techs understand how things work.”

The $1,000 award honors the late Frank Donald Hobart, who served for nearly 35 years as the college’s buildings and grounds supervisor. His son, John Donald Hobart ’51 established the annual award to recognize a Physical Plant staff member for dedication, loyalty, cooperation, patience and mentoring.

Knox operates and programs the college’s energy management control system. He’s helped to keep campus heating and cooling costs down through his expertise in the college’s energy efficient system and measures, Holthouser said.

“He ensures that everything is operating properly,” Holthouser said. “Everything will be meticulously combed through by Mark. He does all of this flawlessly.”


  • January 29, 2021