Chris Daniel zips around campus in a white pick-up truck, plugging leaks and putting out small fires. The affable, silver haired, Warner Robins resident is a plant operations grounds maintenance supervisor; but the lines of his responsibilities blur daily. One minute, he’s peering over the shoulders of the Huntington Hall construction crew making sure they don’t drill underground pipes. Hours later, he shows up on the back end of campus to help fuse a busted gas line. “Chris is a multi-use team player who I depend on to always go the extra mile,” says Associate Vice President and Director of Plant Operations Dwayne Crew. “He practically lives on campus,” Crew added.
The University of Georgia graduate majored in landscape architecture. When he came to Fort Valley State 28 years ago, the plan was to use the opportunity as a stepping-stone to another position. Instead, the easy-going, 56-year-old employee planted his roots deep in Wildcat Country and never looked back. He is a “jack of many trades”, but remains a master architect of all things green and keeps the grounds and plants blooming in brilliant colors. Daniels designed the Betty Jean Rivers Camellia Garden located on FVSU’s main campus and he’s currently creating a new structure where Wildcats can relax at the corner of Rayfield Wright Street and State University Drive.
What brought you to Fort Valley State?
I was working for a private company and was looking for something better. I saw a job ad in 1983. I had some experience in every area they asked for – greenhouse experience, grounds maintenance and landscape design. I had everything they wanted, so I said “Shoot, I might as well go apply for that.” I didn’t think I’d be here this long; but I like working in the same area. When you’ve been some place a while, you understand it much better. You can do a better job.
What do you enjoy most about your work (although this really doesn’t seem like work to you)?
I enjoy seeing the plants grow and bloom. The work changes through the seasons and the grounds change through the seasons.
What are you doing to make sure the scrubbery and plants on campus remain green?
With this drought we’re having, everything is not green; but, with some water, it’ll all come back. I’m most concerned about the scrubbery and trees. If the grass gets rain, it’ll come back. It’s durable enough. If the drought continues for a couple more months, we’ll really be in trouble.
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