Mike Pixley has worked at Middlebury College since 1986 and was inducted into the 25 year club in the spring of 2011. In his current post he serves as a Locksmith in the Facilities Services department. In this article Mike answers questions about his career, the many memories he has accumulated over the years, the best view on campus and his advice for new employees. Read on to learn more about a self-designated “sports junkie”, a proud dad, and a very talented member of our staff that we are pleased to welcome into the 25 year club!
What did you do prior to work at Middlebury College and where were you located?
Prior to coming to Middlebury I worked as a carpenter in Germany for a non-profit that provided services to the U.S. military.
What job titles have you held while working at Middlebury?
I started as a carpenter/painter, and also did most of the glass work. A couple years after coming here a position in the lock shop opened up and I thought this would be an interesting job (and much easier on the body), and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Take us back to your first year as an employee at the College. What were the most significant things happening in your life outside of work then?
When I first came to the college I was a 26 year old with a wife from Germany and a 1 month old baby. It was quite an adjustment for us, but Middlebury and my colleagues made it much easier.
What are the most significant things happening in your life outside of work now (that you’d like to share)?
We are proud parents of 3 wonderful daughters, our oldest graduated from Wheaton College and NECI and now lives in Boston, our second child goes to a great school in Massachusetts for children with disabilities (she has Down Syndrome) and our youngest is a sophomore at UVM. It doesn’t get better than that!
Have your interests/hobbies/athletic endeavors changed over the past 25 years? Have any of these been influenced by your work at the College or due to your association with others who work here?
I am a sports junkie. I used to play basketball and baseball in my younger days and now I umpire baseball and coach basketball. I played baseball for many years with David LaRose from the mail room. (We called him coach most of the time.) I’ve also been involved with Special Olympics for many years and have had the privilege of working with many of our students who volunteer to help.
What is your fondest memory or experience that you’ve had while working at Middlebury?
I would have to say my fondest memory at Middlebury would be memories. I have made so many friends here over the years – students, faculty and staff.
Many people change jobs/careers multiple times in their working life. Something must have kept you here for 25 years. Is it anything that you can put into words?
Middlebury is a great place to work, not that every day is roses but most are. I have looked elsewhere but none have ever come close to the college.
What are your plans for the next 25 years?
I plan on working at Middlebury for a while longer then maybe I will look for something in the sports field. Who knows, maybe also at Middlebury College!
Do you have a favorite place on campus?
My favorite place to be on campus is taking in the scenery from MBCH. What a great view! You can see all of the campus, the mountains and miles around. If you haven’t had a chance to see this view you should make a point of doing so. (Editor’s note: The stairwell at the 7th floor observatory level as well as the study lounges at the ends of the east and west corridors on the 6th floor and the north and south corridors on the 5th floor all offer fantastic vantage points from which you can appreciate the amazing views.)
Is there any person on campus (or retiree, former employer) that mentored you, or you feel helped you grow into your job, grow to enjoy your work and your time at the College?
Harold Strassner is an amazing person, he was a big reason why we made the transition to Middlebury so smoothly. As my supervisor when I first came here he made sure that we were taken care of and was genuinely concerned about us. We miss him since he retired but look forward to seeing him on the golf course.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new employee at Middlebury, what would it be?
The advice I would give to a new employee would be to be open minded, take advice and take advantage of all Middlebury College has to offer.