On Oct. 13, 1792, the White House cornerstone was laid. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was born on that day in 1925, and American TV host Ed Sullivan died on Oct. 13, 1974. However, these historical events are not what make the date significant to John Lebzelter. On Oct.13, 2017, he started his job as a maintenance mechanic in the turnover department at Masonic Village of Elizabethtown.
A graduate of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology – where he studied masonry and construction with a minor in carpentry – John has done everything from restoration tech to working on a cattle farm. He continues to have that variety in his career at Masonic Village.
“I like that it’s not just the same thing every single day here,” he said. “I do a little bit of everything.”
Sometimes, he’s installing HVAC units. Other times, he’s getting cottages and apartments ready for plumbers and carpenters to come in and do their work.
“My favorite thing is when we go into a cottage or apartment decorated in an older style and renovate it…to see how it looked when you started and have it come out looking that good is awesome,” he said.
No matter what, he always has a chance to “get out and about and talk to residents.”
John also appreciates his newly stable schedule. At previous jobs, he had inconsistent start and end times – something not true of his new position.
“Every day, you work the same hours – no ifs, ands or buts about it,” he said.
Besides the variety of work, opportunity for resident interaction and advantage of regular hours, John enjoys the educational component of his job. Since he’s doing something new and different every day, it allows him to pick up new skills and learn from his coworkers’ expertise in areas that are less familiar to him.
“You’re getting paid to work, but also to learn new trades,” he said.
Regarding a maintenance career, he says, “Like anything else, if you really want to do it, work as hard and learn as much as you can.”
All students could benefit from John’s advice: do well in school, ask a lot of questions and build relationships.
“You can get a job anywhere, but the ones at a good organization with good benefits, you are more likely to hear about through word of mouth,” he said.
His story proves the benefits of networking; John heard about his current position through a friend working in the landscape department.
During college football season, you can find John – and Charlie, his two-year-old cockapoo – cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Year-round, they enjoy spending time with friends.