The Westminster Bi-Line

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The Westminster Bi-Line

The Westminster Bi-Line

Janitorial staff appreciates challenges of diverse workplace

Amidst the hectic shuffle between classes, it is easy to overlook the freshly cleaned floors and emptied trashcans.

Housekeeping manager and director of environmental services, Larry Smith, has been running the show at Westminster for six years. “I manage a crew of 23 individuals,” said Smith. “I’m responsible for their daily, weekly, and annual job assignments”.

He is also in charge of countless other tasks including the organization of the payroll.

Smith can often be seen around campus because he “periodically helps [the janitors] out with their tasks.” His mission is to make sure everything gets done correctly. “I’ve been doing this for well over 20 years,” said Smith. “I started in New Jersey working for a company called the Occupational Center dealing with mentally challenged and handicapped individuals.” Smith started working in the janitorial department and within just a few months had worked his way up to supervisor.

A loving father of 18-year-old twin sons, Smith was directed to Westminster by one of his vendors.

“I had been working in long-term care for six months and [the vendor] came to my building every Tuesday,” said Smith. “He told me he had been coming to the building for 21 years and had never seen it so clean”.

Smith was consequently told about a job opening at Westminster, so he applied and got the job.

“My department is so diverse, I have employees from all over the world,” Smith remarked. “I love it. I get to experience how different people deal with certain things. I love to see the different attitudes and different cultures. I love managing a diverse department.” Smith’s 23 employees have origins all over the world, ranging from Colombia to Sudan.

The filming of The Blind Side at Westminster a few years ago was a very exciting time for Smith. “That was an experience to have to deal with that,” recalls Smith. “It was a lot of extra work, but my staff managed to handle it.” The staff worked overtime during the filming. They had to keep up with their day-to-day tasks as well as make sure the campus was primed for the filming.

Seven months ago, Sharon Fletcher was directed toward Westminster through the agency Perimeter Staffing. She happened into housekeeping about 18 months ago and now finds herself “cleaning the classrooms, bathrooms, et cetera.” Her favorite part about the job is just “the kids in general,” Fletcher stated, “watching them fool around and have fun.”

Fletcher also enjoys the diversity of the janitorial staff.

“I like to learn a different language and a different culture.”

Annette Stanley has taken a different route into the housekeeping department. Stanley has been at Westminster for 15 years, but this is her first year as a janitor. After last year Stanley requested a change into the housekeeping department from dining services and now finds herself responsible for cleaning Pressly.

Stanley’s son, Nathan, is 24 and currently in Afghanistan with the U.S. army. “Hopefully he will be home next month” said Stanley. “When he graduated high school he worked at Panasonic, but they laid him off. He’s been in the army for two years trying to get money for college and is now going to school online”.

Stanley has one other son, a 26-year-old entrepreneur.

Stanley spent the past 14 years at Westminster serving lunch, but decided a switch to housekeeping was best for her. “I do miss talking with the kids” remarked Stanley, “but the hours of housekeeping are awesome. The adults are very nice people and seeing them is great.” Stanley still has some fond memories from her times in the kitchen. “One year for my birthday some of the kids made a video with them dancing and singing.”

Her working career began as a nursing assistant, but she then hurt her back and had to start working in the lunch line.

“I want to go back, but I will need to take classes,” recalled Stanley. “I took the job here because the hours were great and I got the weekends off, but I would really like to go back to being a nursing assistant”.

Students often forget the hard work that goes into making Westminster the community that it is. The custodial staff works day in and day out to create a clean workplace for the students.

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