College’s building services wears many hats
Steven Burgess is a man of many careers.
As Washtenaw Community College’s Building Services Manager, Burgess takes care of everything from cleanup of 1.1 million square feet of building space to pest control – and that’s just on this campus.
“What I do here is very important,” Burgess joked as he was informed about trash cans being stolen from campus grounds.
When Burgess isn’t at WCC or with his kids, he’s the Custodial Services manager at the University of Michigan.
In his spare time, Burgess is an attorney with a practice in Saline.
“I really don’t like practicing law,” Burgess said. “People lose, and I don’t like that. I would love to go back to school to teach law, maybe at Washtenaw, because I really like the academic side of it. I just don’t like the cut-throat nature of the practice.”
When Burgess graduated from Saline High in 1988, he came straight to WCC, where he took two years of general studies.
“WCC’s campus has definitely changed since I went to school here,” Burgess said. “It used to be much easier to park, but campus looks different, better.”
He married at age 21, and later had five children during his 16 year marriage: four girls and one boy, ranging from ages 3 to 19. Shortly after getting married, Burgess went on to Eastern Michigan University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
“The philosophy was a prerequisite to go to law school. They recommend that you take either English or philosophy,” he said. “English was more for people who were interested in the research of law, rather than the practice.”
After graduating from Eastern in ’96, Burgess went to Thomas Cooley Law in Lansing, where he obtained his Juris Doctorate. He then opened his own general law practice.
In September of 2011, Burgess was hired to manage WCC’s custodial staff, a job that he feels comfortable with due to 11 years of related management experience.
“I really like this job, and I really like Washtenaw,” he said. “We’re doing some good things here.”
Many of his employees feel that Burgess is the right man for the job.
“He implemented changes that he felt were more efficient,” said custodian, Dan Curtis. “And it’s working so far.”
“He’s a nice guy,” said Mark Goins, another custodian at WCC. “I think he’s the best manager that’s been here since I’ve been here.”