In this post we recognize John Quesnel, Receiver for Retail Food Operations, for his 25 years of service to Middlebury. John shares with us the source of his fondest Middlebury memories, some advice on success at Middlebury, and the person that influenced him the most here. Read on to learn more about Midd from John’s point of view.
What did you do prior to work at Middlebury College and where were you located?
Before Middlebury College I worked for 20 years in Aviation. I worked for my father Alphonse Quesnel at Middlebury airport. There I got all my pilot certificates: Commercial Pilot, single and multi-engine land, single Engine Sea, and instrument airplane as well as flight instructor in all categories. I also obtained my FAA mechanics ratings Airframe and power plant. I did flight instruction, Charter pilot and crop dusting duties. I also did some aviation mechanics. Later I took over the duties of State Airport Manager of the Middlebury and Rutland airports. I filled this role until late 80’s when we sold all of our aviation assets in Vermont.
What job titles have you held while working at Middlebury?
At Middlebury I have held catering truck driver, prep cook, receiver, receiver/inventory control clerk.
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 started at Middlebury I had been involved in general aviation all my adult life. I had been successful in aviation and wanted to see if I could look for a career that wasn’t as dependent on my medical health. At that time I wasn’t sure if this was a good fit or not, but would be a good career to fall back on as Aviation is dependent on passing a FAA Medical exam.
What are the most significant things happening in your life outside of work now (that you’d like to share)?
Today most of our activities revolve around friends and family. My immediate family and a good share of our relatives live within walking distance of our home. Many weekends there are many family members and friends at the house.
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?
Most of my interests have remained the same over the years. Middlebury hasn’t affected or changed my hobbies. Boating, Fishing, Hunting, and generally all outdoor activities still take up most of my spare time.
What is your fondest memory or experience that you’ve had while working at Middlebury?
My fondest memories connect to time I spent at Broadleaf campus. The rustic setting and gorgeous mountain aesthetics made my time there enjoyable.
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?
The People that I came in contact with and the ever changing atmosphere has kept my interest over the years. Every day has been a new adventure.
What are your plans for the next 25 years?
I plan to stay at Middlebury as long as I can still be productive in my position. I am not a person that can easily relax into a full retirement role.
Do you have a favorite place on campus?
If I had to pick one place it would have to be Breadloaf Campus. The Rustic setting and Mountain views made my time there most enjoyable.
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?
The person that has influenced me the most would have to be Rodney Degray. Rodney decided to give me a chance at a position at the Snow Bowl that I literally had no background in at all, having spent my whole adult life in the field of aviation. And no food service experience of any kind. This was a complete change in direction. The first few weeks were quite the trip. My supervisor after about two weeks was taken ill and Rodney informed that I was now in charge. Rodney was able to come up with all tips and information to get us through this period.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new employee at Middlebury, what would it be? Middlebury is a great place to work at. But patience here is a virtue. Things don’t always move at the pace you would like. If you do your best things will work out.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about your time at Middlebury?
Over the past 25 years I have made many friends here at Middlebury. The experience and friendship will last long after my time here at Middlebury.