“Hard work pays off,” is the lifelong philosophy of Mr. Jeff Raymond, Facilities Management Coordinator at Athens Academy. This philosophy serves him well as he maintains the facilities at ACAD. Every student at Athens Academy sees Mr. Raymond cheerfully driving by in the golf cart, but few have had the opportunity to witness the many important roles he plays on campus. Mr. Raymond has worked at ACAD since May of 2010, almost eight years. He was first introduced to the school by his father, who was the civil engineer for Athens Academy for thirty years and helped construct buildings such as the Bertelsmann building. When the old Director of Operations took a new job, she suggested that Mr. Raymond would do well in this position, and offered it to him. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Mr. Raymond describes his choice for taking the job. Today he is responsible for all custodial and maintenance activity in the school.
Mr. Raymond is constantly working to improve everyone’s experience on campus. An example of this was when he noticed the big mud puddle created by students drinking out of the hose by the track and decided to put in a water fountain with a drainage system to reduce the mess. “So, little things like that we like to look for to make your experience or anybody’s experience [better].” Mr. Raymond helped improve the quality of the track by taking time out of his schedule to put in a water fountain. This is only one of the many examples of how Mr. Raymond has gone above-and-beyond to improve the facilities.
At home, Mr. Raymond lives with his wife and their two-year-old daughter. “[My daughter]’s the joy of my life… [and] my wife is super supportive with my job because it’s very demanding.” While recently Mr. Raymond’s family has been moving back to Georgia, his family has been living internationally for many years. His brother, now a substitute at ACAD, lived in Germany for ten years and his father still lives in South Korea building demilitarized zones for the United States Army. Mr. Raymond’s sister lives close to Tennessee teaching agriculture in a high school and his mother recently moved to town from Ohio. He loves hiking outdoors and competitively lifting weights in his sparse free time.
As a student at the Oconee County Schools, Mr. Raymond enjoyed math and running cross country. His involvement in cross country is what really instilled his life philosophy of “hard work pays off.” “However much I put into it, or how ever much I worked, I’d get to see the results of that.”
Although Mr. Raymond’s interaction with the students is limited due to busy schedules, he loves to help teach life skills, such as jump starting a car or changing a flat tire, when he gets the chance. Mr. Raymond enjoys being able to go on Mr. Trimpe’s geology trips each summer and is able to help teach the participants about safety while hiking.
Mr. Raymond and his staff have put hard work into caring for the grounds and facilities, so next time you notice that the air conditioning is working, that new mulch has made the flower beds beautiful, or that freshwater is available at your soccer game, take a moment to appreciate their hard work.