Team Member Honored for Decades of Service
Paul Smith was studying culinary arts at West Valley Occupational Center in Los Angeles, Calif., when he took a temporary job as a maintenance technician at Mt. Rubidoux Manor, an affordable housing community in Riverside.
Nearly 40 years later, Smith is the company’s longest-tenured team member and still enjoys his job.
“I love working with my hands and fixing things,” he says. “Figuring out how to correct a problem is a rewarding challenge.”
Smith recently received an honorable mention from LeadingAge in its “Longest Tenured Employee Contest.” He was nominated by Ancel Romero, senior vice president for ABHOW’s affordable housing division.
“The response was overwhelming and very inspiring,” LeadingAge spokesperson Sharon Sullivan said in a statement that announced the winners. “We never imagined we would literally have hundreds of employees with over 30 years of service.”
Smith ranks as one of the best.
“Paul is a remarkable resource for Mt. Rubidoux Manor,” says Melody Daugherty, the community’s administrator. “He can tell you the history of our building, almost from day one, and he has a remarkable memory. He’s like a walking blueprint of the community.”
Smith’s late father, Arthur, was a friend of Mt. Rubidoux’s first administrator, Benny Flint, and told his son about a job opportunity in maintenance at the community.
“I had wanted to be a baker,” says Smith. “But at the time, the industry had really taken a slowdown, and there weren’t many jobs to be found. When I got hired here, I liked it so much I just never really looked anywhere else.”
As a child, Smith often worked alongside his father, a Baptist minister, as they did odd jobs around their house and the church. He also watched his father minister to members of the congregation. Through the years, Smith learned a trade and developed a compassion for others.
Quiet and humble, Smith’s strong work ethic has earned him many opportunities to move up within the company, but he prefers to work behind the scenes.
“We’ve offered him management positions numerous times,” says Daugherty, “but he doesn’t want to be in charge of people. He’d rather get the job done and get it done right than handle managerial duties. And that’s very good for us because he’s very good at his job.”
And he’s been good at it for quite a long time now.
“I thought I would be here a while,” says Smith. “But I never thought it would be this long. I’m glad it has been, though, because I really like helping people and making them happy.”
Mount Rubidoux Manor
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