Dave Murray, maintaining excellence

At the end of January, we said so long, but not farewell, to Dave Murray who announced his retirement from The Corning Museum of Glass after more than 10 years. Since 2011, Dave has successfully run the Museum’s Operations Department, diligently managing the buildings and grounds and all internal services and systems that keep the Museum open for our staff and guests.

Dave Murray

With a background in maintenance and operations established in regional schools and ski resorts, Dave was able to marry this skill set with his passion for art by advancing into his role at the Museum. During his tenure, the footprint of the Museum grew significantly as did the complexity of the systems supporting it and Dave ably oversaw each step, providing management, expertise, and support for over 100 capital projects. Amongst many notable improvements, the opening of the Contemporary Art + Design Wing in 2015 and renovations to both the Café and The Shops stand out.

In between these large-scale projects, Dave and his team tackled every type of task imaginable, from leaks to snow removal, and introduced strategies that helped significantly reduce the Museum’s carbon footprint. Dave’s advocacy for green initiatives has helped the Museum realize substantial cost and energy savings, paving the way for a more sustainable organization for years to come. It’s also true that Dave rode his bike to work every day for several years, which helps explain where his green thumb comes from.

Dave is highly regarded for his warm and outgoing personality, his can-do attitude, his poetic way with words, and his pride and respect for the team he managed for so many years—together they have accomplished many things.

Museum colleagues were quick to share their well-wishes for a friend who will be remembered for his institutional knowledge and many contributions. And, of course, for being spotted driving around the campus in his cart, on his way to fix something or lend a hand, and always with a smile on his face.

Karol Wight, president and executive director, Corning Museum of Glass

“I had an opportunity to sit down with Dave shortly after I arrived ten years ago. It was an unexpected pleasure to learn that Dave had studied art history and that he really valued being able to work in a museum. I knew right then that CMoG was in the right hands with its leader of operations, and that impression has never wavered. Dave has more than ably led his team through campus expansions, space renovations, infrastructure upgrades, and the annual snow events. He never failed to offer a friendly wave when zipping by on his cart, an event that usually happened at least once a day as we were both moving around the campus. I wish Dave all the best in his well-deserved retirement. Thank you, Dave, for all that you have contributed to the Museum to help us meet our mission, often from behind the scenes but always from the heart.”

Dave on one of his many trips around campus.

Alan Eusden, chief operating officer, Corning Museum of Glass

“The one thing I always knew about Dave is that we could completely trust that he would make the right things happen. He has a wonderful sense of how to make our campus work well, and, with his team, would take all the right steps to make sure it happened. I love that he would incorporate both an artistic and an environmental focus into his vision of Museum operations. He planned for and handled the expanded operations of the new Contemporary Art + Design Galleries as smoothly and capably as he would tackle the latest winter storm. I also appreciate that he is a doer—it was more likely we might ask him to hold back on a project than having to give him a gentle nudge forward! I will miss seeing him in action as well as his friendly and engaging personality. I wish him all the best in his retirement and hope to see him often.”

Dave Togni, chief financial officer, Corning Museum of Glass

“One of my favorite things about Dave was his passion for the Museum. He often talked about wanting to do the right thing for the Museum and, boy, did he like to do it quickly! Just as soon as we would get off the phone from discussing a project that we might want to do, I’d find Dave out there doing it. If he thought it was a good idea, he would get it done. There were so many projects completed under Dave’s leadership during his 11 years at the Museum, and the institutional knowledge he amassed over that time was staggering—he knew every inch of our campus, inside and out. There are many things that I will miss about Dave, but I am very excited for him to enjoy his retirement, now he can sail and ski until his heart is content. Best of luck to you, Dave. PS: Please remember to leave me your cell phone number as I know we will undoubtedly have questions that only you can answer!”

Dave (far right) and members of the Ops team.

Harry Seaman, senior facility manager, The Studio

“My first experience with Dave, other than meeting him on his inaugural walkabout to meet the staff, was in a meeting where we identified Studio facility needs. When Dave heard our building cooling system – our air conditioning – had been value-engineered to half its intended capacity, he launched himself into negotiations with Corning Inc. to get the capital funds approved to make the system right. How he managed in such a short period of time to get them to bring in a crane and put a second chiller on the roof I will never know. I will always think of Dave as our HVAC Hero, especially when the students remark how comfortable The Studio is!”

Randy Vargason, senior manager, information technology, Corning Museum of Glass

Dave has always had a ‘can-do’ attitude. He enjoys a challenge, and my perception is that ‘no’ is not in his vocabulary. In fact, I think Dave coined the phrase ‘Let’s find a way!’ He has always been friendly and encouraged his team to engage the same way. He is really direct in his communication style which I appreciate. You don’t have to wonder where you stand with Dave. He was also an instrumental part of managing Corning capital, which is no easy feat. He seems to balance all the competing interests to keep projects and vendors moving along. I have admired Dave for his patience in dealing with others and we are certainly wishing him well in his retirement.”

Dave (far left) and members of the Ops team prepare to clear snow from the pathways around the Museum.

Mitchell Carr, maintenance technician, Corning Museum of Glass:

“Dave is a standup guy and a good leader. It has been a pleasure to work with and learn from him.”

Bill Gilbert, senior manager, environment, health and safety, Corning Museum of Glass:

“Dave has spearheaded some very big projects here at The Museum, with the Contemporary Art and Design wing at the top of that list. It’s easy to see the outcome of a project of that scope, but Dave and the team have accomplished so much over the years. The Shops redesign, LED lighting throughout the campus, sprinkler and fire panel upgrades (my favorites), and a new roof over our heads, just to name a few. It’s been great working with you, Dave. Thanks for all your efforts and I wish you nothing but the best going forward.”

Warren Bunn, senior manager, collections and exhibitions, Corning Museum of glass:

“When interviewing Dave, I remember finding out that not only did he have facilities and operations experience, but that he also had a background in art history. This combination of skills made him an ideal candidate for the position and his role here at CMoG since taking care of our building means taking care of the important collections housed and displayed within. Dave is both a colleague and friend and I am proud of the work that we’ve done together during his time at the Museum.”

Dave’s last day at the Museum was January 28, 2022.

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