Salt Lake Community College’s largest campus, the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, covers over 100 acres and includes 12 buildings and athletic facilities. The campus requires daily maintenance, including shoveling snow during the winter, trash removal and many other things.
The custodians at SLCC work every day to keep our campus clean. Gordon Tallis, whose official title is Custodian II day crew lead, has been working at the college for nearly 26 years.
“I came from the mechanic field and things weren’t going good, but I had to work, so I walked into here [Taylorsville Redwood Campus], and I was embarrassed,” said Tallis of becoming a custodian. “But I really enjoy this job now. Nothing is the same each day.”
What makes Tallis so unique is that no matter the job he has to complete or the weather outside, he is always smiling. Tallis has worked his way from being a member of the custodial crew at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus to becoming the day crew lead custodian. Tallis is in charge of six other custodians and is assigned new tasks to complete each day along with the many calls that he receives for various jobs around the campus.
“You’ve got to smile and laugh when you have this job,” Tallis said. “You never know what you will get. Spilled liquids call, clogged toilets and throw up calls, you name it.”
Tallis has enjoyed his 26 years at SLCC and enjoys the social aspect of being on a college campus. He also enjoys getting to help new students find their way around the campus.
“It is a great job. I get to be around people,” Tallis said. “We get new students coming in and we get to show them where to go. ‘Oh, the Business Building is just around the corner.’ It starts over every fall.”
Tallis acknowledged that he has a difficult job and says that “being so sweaty in the summer” is the worst part, but that little things make the job worth it.
“We were doing this [picking up cigarette butts] on the north side of the Business Building and a gal came up and thanked us for picking up all the cigarette butts,” Tallis said. “’Hello,’ ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way around here.”
A good leader will always have a good crew, and Tallis knows that he wouldn’t be able to complete all of the jobs assigned to him on campus without the group he leads.
“It’s a big campus to cover, but we are pretty self-motivated to keep it clean,” Tallis said. “We help each other out a lot.”
Students can help make a tough job easier by getting their trash in the right receptacle and thanking the custodians for the job they do.