Bill Lackey, Maintenance Engineer at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, recently passed his 25-year mark of employment. Bill has become an integral part of the Institute community and took a few minutes to share his thoughts of “Life at the Institute” over the past two and a half decades.
1. What did you do prior to coming to work at the Middlebury Institute and where were you located?
Before I came to work for MIIS, I worked as a Union Journeyman Carpenter. I started my apprenticeship program in 1978 in Scotts Valley, building the Hidden Oak Condos for four years. Subsequently, I was employed in the building industry and have worked on many jobs including Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach and their condos, Bridges in Salinas, Pacheco Pass and San Jose, Presidio of Monterey, Fort Ord, Hunter Liggett, K-Mart, and many privately owned homes throughout the United States.
2. What job titles have you held while working at the Middlebury Institute?
I started working at MIIS as the Maintenance Engineer Supervisor. I was in charge of seven in-house custodians, Campus Security, Events and Set-Ups, Classrooms, and Grounds. I hired one individual and, of course, managed the numerous maintenance needs as there was a lot to do and not much help back then. I currently hold the job title of Maintenance Engineer.
3. Take us back to your first year as an employee at MIIS. What were the most significant things happening in your life outside of work then?
I was replacing all of the electrical wiring throughout my house and had to remove every existing wall. I was also working 52 hours a week while trying to complete this large undertaking. Slowly and steadily, I was able to replace the wires and install the sheet rock, tape, mud, and texture. I was very proud when I accomplished all of this work by myself.
4. What are the most significant things happening in your life outside of work now (that you’d like to share)?
I am starting to build an addition to my home as my kids have come to live with me. This should prove to be another life experience that I will remember.
5. Have your interests/hobbies/athletic endeavors changed over the past 25 years? Have any of these been influenced by your work at MIIS or due to your association with others who work here?
My life outside of work centers around my family and my granddaughter. I do have hobbies, which include motorcycle rides, wood working, bead work, and nice beach days.
6. What is your fondest memory or experience that you’ve had while working at MIIS?
I do enjoy seeing all of the friendly faces here at MIIS and greeting everyone that I see. One of my fondest memories was when I crafted a plaque from the wood of our Adobe Cypress Tree for former MIIS President Sunder Ramaswamy. It was a pleasure to create something from this wood and give it to our departing President.
7. 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?
When I worked in the general construction industry, the jobs were always completed and once completed, I had to move on. Here at MIIS, the work is never ending. I have a stated purpose and feel fulfilled with a great sense of pride in my work accomplishments. MIIS has become my home away from home and I know that tomorrow, when I come in to work, there will be more work to be done!
8. What are your plans for the next 25 years?
Stay as healthy as I can and keep doing what I have enjoyed for most of my life.
9. Do you have a favorite place on campus?
I don’t have one preferred place here on MIIS Campus. Working as a Maintenance Engineer, I am all over this campus during a week’s work. I enjoy this campus and view each of the buildings as if they were my own and each building and location are special in their own way.
10. 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 Institute?
I worked under President Emeritus Robert Gard in the 90’s and we had some special talks about life and work that I remember well. Additionally, President Emeritus Steve Baker was also one that I admired here at MIIS. He called me his Chief Maintenance Engineer. I have fond memories of them both.
11. If you could give one piece of advice to a new employee at MIIS, what would it be?
My advice to a new employee is to never give up, stay slow and steady, and think about what you are doing before you do it.
12. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your time at MIIS?
I think of my long career here at MIIS like the stock market. It has had its ups and downs but I (we) have always recovered and come back into the light.
Thanks for all of my great memories throughout my 25 years of service here at MIIS. I have seen so many changes and look forward to the next 25 years!