Every September we enjoy a three-day holiday weekend in honor of the American worker and the achievements made possible through the collective efforts of millions of men and women across our country. In an effort to celebrate local workers, Fort Dodge Today visited two of the largest employers in Fort Dodge to highlight two people who's work touches thousands of other lives. Meet Dave Wooster, Master Plumber with the Fort Dodge Community School System and Jonette Terranova, Nutritional Services Retail Supervisor for Trinity Regional Medical Center.
Dave Wooster, Master Plumber
According to their website, the Fort Dodge Community School district has roughly 620 employees and staff serving approximately 4,000 students each year. Dave Wooster's job as the school district's Master Plumber affects each of themalong with the countless others such as parents and family who visit a school or fans who attend a game at Dodger Stadium.
Dave Wooster is the Fort Dodge Community School District's Master Plumber.
"Some people hear 'plumber' and assume I am simply fixing leaky faucets all day. A lot of folks aren't aware that the job is so much more. And that it's a year-round job," said Wooster.
Wooster is responsible for literally miles and miles of pipes in 12 buildings plus Dodger Stadium and the district's bus barn. The piping includes both hot and cold lines, circulating lines which run parallel to the hot water lines and allow for instant hot water at taps in large buildings, steam lines, condensation lines, sewer lines and storm drain lines to be maintained. There are also hundreds of fixturessinks, water fountains, toilets, urinals, and showersto keep running.
All those pipes are connected to 22 different boilers, 20 hot water heaters, numerous roof top units (for heating and cooling), 13 air compressors, a variety of kitchen equipment such as commercial dish washers and a number of roof and floor drains. To get at the piping Wooster often works in the miles of tunnels and crawl spaces that exist under the district's school buildings. Most of the tunnels and crawl spaces do not allow him to stand straight and mean that Wooster is working in close, sometimes cramped quarters.
"It's a multi-million dollar complex," said Wooster. He is proud to be a part of a very professional maintenance staff which includes grounds keepers, an electrician, a carpenter and a painter in addition to custodial staff in each location. "All together, we save the school district thousands of dollars every year with the work we do." Wooster's workshop is located at the stadium where you will also find the district's electrician, carpenter and painter.
This summer Wooster installed a new dish washer in the kitchen at Phillips Middle School among other tasks. "A lot of what I do in the summer includes new installs, remodeling, and tearing down and cleaning the boilers so that they are up to code for the inspector," Wooster said. He was also involved in moving the nurse's office to its new location near the main offices at the senior high school. The move included remodeling the space to add a bathroom which required Wooster's expertise.
Wooster's work orders come from teachers and administrators who fill out a request for service. These become his overall game plan for the day, however Wooster finds that other jobs and tasks often get added when he arrives at a building.
During the school year faucets and flush valves in all the restrooms (and some classrooms) require his attention daily. "In the winter I get a lot of hot and cold calls to classrooms," Wooster added. He responds by adjusting or recalibrating the thermostats. Wooster sees the goal of his job as maintaining a safe and clean environment for the students and staff.
Occasionally Wooster and the other maintenance staff are called upon to help out with other types of tasks such as unloading trucks delivering food, paper or other supplies. "We're happy to help out with whatever job we are asked to do," he said.
Wooster is also a part of the school district's snow removal team (which really got a work-out last year!) The snow removal team is made up of custodial and maintenance staff who go in at midnight and push snow until 7 a.m. at which time they return to their normal jobs. Depending on the snowfall, the team members might work 48 hours with only a couple of hours of sleep.
Dave Wooster, along with his wife Connie, graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 1968. Wooster's daughters, Shelley Lumsden and Julie Wooster, also graduated from Senior High. Wooster's grandchildren are currently attending Fort Dodge schools.
Following graduation, Wooster attended Iowa Central Community College for a year where he decided to follow his father, Carl Wooster's footsteps into the plumbing trade. During the five year apprenticeship school in Des Moines, Wooster was employed with Mid State Plumbing where he worked for 15 years. Wooster started with the Fort Dodge Community School District in 1987. He is currently the only plumber employed by the district.
Jonette Terranova, Nutritional Services Retail Supervisor
If you have stopped in for a snack or meal while at the hospital, grabbed a coffee treat at the new Java City or taken part in a catered meal during a meeting or event at Trinity, you have enjoyed the work of Fort Dodge native, Jonette Terranova who oversees the cafeteria, Java City and on-site catering at Trinity Regional Medical Center. As the Nutritional Services Retail Supervisor, Terranova provides for the daily needs of over 1,000 hospital staff plus volunteers and visitors to the medical center's cafeteria and coffee shop.
Terranova oversees a staff of approximately 30 people, nine of whom are regulars. She works closely with Chef Ernie Albrecht in putting together each six month menu plan for the cafeteria which offers a different menu for breakfast and lunch/dinner each day.
Having worked for the hospital for over 19 years now, Trinity helped Terranova prepare for her role as Nutritional Services Retail Supervisor through a variety of training courses. When she started she took the required dietary and sanitation classes and has since added supervisory training to the list. "The hospital is very good at making education opportunities available to its employees," said Terranova. She added that some of the learning now takes place on-line.
The hours for food service workers begin at 5 a.m. and end sometime between 8 and 9 p.m. Terranova has been trained in the various jobs needed to make food services work at Trinity Regional Medical Center. The job areas include: baking, cooking, tray line, diet office, caf, catering and Java City. "I stop by the kitchen and can help as needed. I'm good at problem solving and getting equipment to work," Terranova said.
She is thankful to work with a cooperative staff who are able to make adjustments and flow with changes as needed. "We do a lot of cross-training so that everyone is able to help each other," Terranova said.
Quick, nutritious meals for breakfast and lunch are the heart of what Terranova offers staff and visitors. "We have a lot of staff who have their favorite days for breakfast items such as our biscuits and gravy or breakfast wraps," she said. These are two of the special items prepared fresh at the grill offered throughout the week in addition to the standard eggs, bacon, french toast, pancakes, etc. Guests also find grab and go items like muffins, fruit, donuts or cinnamon rollsa Sunday favorite.
The lunch and supper menu varies according to the four week cycle Terranova arranges. Diners always have a burger and chicken sandwich from the grill to choose from, make-your-own deli cold sandwiches and of course the hot entree, starch and vegetable of the day. "We also have pizza and one or two soups every day," added Terranova.
Terranova takes holidays into account when planning menus for the cafeteria. "Staff are working and away from family on those special days, so we try to offer some special menus to make working the holiday a bit easier," she said. For instance on the 4th of July, grilled hot dogs were a popular choice.
Trinity Regional Medical Center is a great place according to Terranova. She appreciates all the health initiatives and programs the hospital offers its employees. Recently Trinity opened an exercise facility for employees to use. "The hospital hosts fun events for staff throughout the year such as the employee picnic or staff Christmas party," Terranova said. When those events require food, she is the one who puts everything together.
Java City is the newest addition to the retail food services at TRMC. The baristas there serve a variety of espresso based coffee drinks, including the popular Javalanche blended drink. Java City also offers smoothies, sodas, fresh baked goods and quick grab-and-go items for lunch on the run. The friendly staff are able to answer questions about the beverages and help customers make informed choices.
Catering at Trinity can involve anything from simple boxed lunches to full prime rib dinners depending on the needs and budget of the guests. Terranova has helped to arrange everything from department or staff meeting lunches to employee recognition dinners. She is currently making dining arrangements for all the COO's of the Iowa Health System who will be meeting at Trinity. "I really enjoy getting to meet so many people from the different departments and from outside the hospital too," said Terranova.