The Missouri Western Physical Plant will be under new management, Brian Adkins, after previous manager Jerry Gentry will be moving on to a different job.
Adkins started out as electrician with the school district, then moved up to management position. He was a supervisor for the Trades/Energy Manager. He worked with mechanical systems, another role that Adkins had was all energy management systems, which involves keeping track of utility usage and looking to lower cost in utilities.
Adkin’s said he wanted to help manage Western because he loves the city of St. Joseph.
“Same thing as Jerry, I loved what I was doing with the St. Joe school district, it was a great place to work, great people, and this opportunity came up and it was just a really good fit for me for what I like to do and it’s another step.” said Adkins.
When Adkins came to Missouri Western he was impressed by what the school had already done.
“Missouri Western is well on their way to doing that, they got a lot of great things.” said Adkins.
Adkins said with his experience the school will continue to improve.
“I’m very confident, I’m prepared,” Adkins said. “The St. Joseph School District, things were added on always so I got more responsibility as it went and that job prepared me very well for this.” said, Adkins.
Gentry will be moving on to working at Boehringer, before working at Missouri Western he worked at Boehringer as a facility manager for ten years. Gentry then took management at the physical plant at Western.
According to Gentry his reason for coming back was “They made me an offer to come back to the position as a facilities manager. They have offered me a position as facilities director which is a couple levels above, from when I once left and this is a very big increase financially for me. It is also a very intriguing position for me too, because the previous director I was there as manager and saw things I thought the director probably should be doing, and now I get the opportunity to do those things and make those changes.” Gentry said.
Corporate asked Gentry about the job opportunity and Gentry took the job. Gentry said he was happy where he was at his job.
“A corporate headhunter was sent to recruit me for that position, so yeah I was not applying,” Gentry said. “I was not looking. I was very happy working here. It was an opportunity that kind of fell into my life and I was very fortunate.”
Gentry interviewed Adkins for the position and he thought Adkins was qualified for the job.
“He’s managed multiple facilities in the St. Joseph School District as the same fashion we are, but they are so much more spread out than we are,” Gentry said in response to Adkins credentials. “He’s been used to taking care of multiple facilities with lots of people, lots of customers so that plays in very well here too as well.”
Vice President of Financial Planning Cale Fessler said that Adkins would do well here at Western.
“Obviously, we think that things would go pretty well,” Fessler said. “Certainly, there will be a learning curve for any new physical plant director, with respect to understanding our facilities, what we need. However, we think that his background with the school district provides him with a great deal of familiarity. So we feel very positive on how he will be able to work with us.”
Adkins and Gentry have been discussing upcoming projects coming to Western, such as the installation of Starbucks where Java City used to be and a possible extension to Potter Hall.