June 14, 2023
When did you join UTHealth Houston? What brought you here?
I came to UTHealth Houston in September 2002. I was working in South America during 9/11, working in jungles for a natural gas company. They wanted me to go back to Nigeria to work, but I decided I’d rather return to Texas. So, I started looking for a job and found this one. I had never done building mechanics before but had been a maintenance mechanic at a nuclear plant.
Tell us about your work history here.
I started out as maintenance mechanic and moved up to senior mechanic, team leader, and now supervisor. I’ve always worked at the Medical School Building since day one.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
All of the recent projects we have done – refurbishing all of the switch gears, hallways, and offices throughout the Medical School. I’m also proud of the team I have assembled – it took me years to get a good team. Mike Eady, Rudy Rubio, Geraldo Ortega, and Johnny James are the team that serves MSB and keeps the building running smoothly.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
There’s never a dull moment here — always something new. Every time I think I’ve seen it all, something new comes along. When I started, the basement of the MSB was just dirt, following Tropical Storm Allison, and our offices were in an old abandoned hallway. My work here started with the reconstruction of the basement and ground floor. Then we moved on to installing the giant flood doors and other remediation efforts.
I do not like hurricanes. I was here for Hurricane Ike for 6 days straight — never went home. And Hurricane Harvey was a mess. I’ve seen some million-dollar floods around here, from a malfunctioning sprinkler system to people leaving water running in the sink all night long. The building has had several fires, including one on the fourth floor. And we’ve had many trucks hitting the overhang of the building on Ross Sterling. Several have been wedged up under there, and we had to let the air out of the tires just to get them out.
Why have you stayed?
It’s been a good job with good benefits for retirement. And, I get to work in the air conditioning instead of a jungle.
When you are not at work, how do you spend your time?
I work around the house, play golf, fish, and hunt. When I’m outdoors, I’m happy.