LBRE Black Advisory Commitee Member Spotlight
I was born in Washington DC, and grew up in both Peoria, IL and Chicago, IL. I currently reside in Emeryville, Ca. I have worked at Stanford for 30 years, in multiple positions, all within LBRE and Utilities. I currently work in the Department of Project Management (DPM) as a Sr. Project Manager. I received my project management certification from San Jose State University and a Green Energy certification from San Diego State University.
I came to work at Stanford by chance. I was working for a plumbing company and performing maintenance at the Stanford Libraries Auxiliary building located on Pampas Lane. When I met the Stanford supervisor at Bonair for invoicing, etc., I noticed the piping equipment in the shop. I inquired about the work they performed there, as my background was in heating and air conditioning, working for contractor Johson Controls. I met with a few people and was hired in 1992.
I chose to work at Stanford rather than the City of San Jose or San Jose State University because, at the time the Stanford utility manager was a Black man. My initial thought as a Midwesterner was “what would be the chances of me having the opportunity to work with/for a Black man”.
My early years working at Stanford were the most interesting for me. Going out to Lake Lagunita and seeing students boating in the lake was like the prestige colleges you see in movies, a total awe moment. Also, getting a chance to work with so many different people from different backgrounds. Back in the Midwest, the only races I saw were Black and white. I remember a few colleagues once asked me if I could change anything about my career at Stanford, and what it would be. My response was, I believe that you are right where you’re supposed to be in life. Everything that has happened in your life has put you in the position you’re in now. I told them to remember, the choices we make help dictate our life’s path.
Being a project manager at Stanford, one has to have conversations with building managers about the work that will take place in their respective areas. While most people have a general idea about construction, most do not know or understand the integral parts. There are many behind the scene details that take place and are so important for the job to succeed. My motto: always ask questions!
Believe it or not, one of my more memorable stories on campus involved woodpeckers. Deterring woodpeckers at the Littlefield Building was a challenging task I was willing to take on. I assembled a team to repair the wooden window features the woodpeckers had destroyed and found a way to deter the birds. It was important to keep the aesthetics of the wood panels intact, and as a result the job turned out great.
I am currently the Chair of the Black Staff Alliance(BSA), Advisor to LBRE’s Black Advisory Committee(BAC), and a Stanford IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment) committee member. Through the years I have played an important role with planning and organizing events for Black History and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on campus. Being a part of the Black Staff Alliance staff group has kept me well connected and informed with the Black community at Stanford.
Having interaction with the various Affinity Groups has enriched my experience at Stanford tremendously. Sometimes I feel that if it were not for those relationships that developed, I would not have lasted all these years. I once heard the greatest thing about working at Stanford is the relationships that you form while you're here.
Outside of Stanford I enjoy spending time with my family, watching sports, particularly: St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Bulls, and the Chicago Bears, playing golf, deep sea fishing, camping, taking bike rides around the East Bay shoreline, going to casinos, and enjoying a nice cigar from time to time.
I have been married to my wife Michelle for 10 years. Between the two of us we have four kids. Nicole(40), Rochelle(35), Melvin(33), and Kendall(30). We also have 6 grandkids to spoil whenever we get the chance.
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