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" he said. Something that didn't change for the better? How computerized things like loaders and bac

Time:2019-01-13 10:05Underwear site information Click:

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Dick Phillips said he never had aspirations of rising to his current position as Sugarcreek Borough maintenance foreman when he began working for the borough in February 1973.

"I was a guy working at a gas station. It was just a stopping place for me, just a job," Phillips said Thursday while on lunch break nearly 46 years later in the quiet borough council chambers.

Despite other jobs being available, Phillips, 64, had enjoyed working outside and stuck with the borough, eventually working his way up the ranks to the top of the maintenance department.

"The next thing you know I've got 10 years in," he said. "It's been kind of a blur, I never thought it'd be so quick."

It may have been a blur, but Phillips, who is retiring Jan. 21 after nearly 46 years of service with the borough, can remember some things very clearly, like having to ride two men to a snowplow truck when he first began so that one could drive and the other could control the hydraulic plow.

Or sweeping the streets of Rocky Grove by hand in the spring before the borough owned a street sweeper something Phillips helped procure.

An instance Phillips won't soon forget happened on a Christmas Eve years ago.

"I would never call my guys out on Christmas," said Phillips, so he ended up trying to fix a sewer pump station with one other man. As he cut through a line a balled-up wad of underwear flew out and hit him in the face.

"I didn't lick my lips, but I turned and said, you know this is 90 percent water."

Phillips said he even unrolled the underwear to find a name tag. To make matters worse, he knew the man the underwear belonged to.

Always enjoyed paving

Sewer jokes aside, if you ask Phillips what his favorite thing to do on the job would be, he'd tell you paving.

"It kind of was bred into me," he said, citing cousins who owned a paving business when he was young.

Phillips took that knowledge and brought it to the borough.

"I told (the borough) we can do it, just give me the equipment," Phillips recalled, and he said the machines paid for themselves in about three years with the amount of money the borough saved from not contracting another paving company to do the jobs.

Paving is so ingrained in Phillips that he runs a paving company on the side, and that is something he plans to continue into his retirement with his co-worker at the borough, Bill Martin.

Not everything has come so easily to Phillips, however.

With the radical changing landscape of electronics and in turn equipment, Phillips said some changes have been better than others. Cell phones, for instance, have led to feeling more secure on a job site.

"You don't feel so alone," he said, recalling a bygone era when getting a loader stuck in a ditch on a project meant you had to start walking and hope someone would let you use their phone.

"That was a different time though, people were grateful to help you," he said.

Something that didn't change for the better? How computerized things like loaders and backhoes have become. Giving an example of this, Phillips said that when the borough bought its new backhoe a few years ago, he "could start it but couldn't make it go."

And his computer? Phillips said he can only check the weather with it.

But even Phillips admits work can be done faster and easier these days.

"I was always willing to change anything," he said.

Many managers, council members

Technology hasn't been the only changing aspect of Phillips' tenure.

"I can't begin to tell you how many people I've seen on council," Phillips said, and he began to list the number of borough managers he has had to work with. He also said the one thing he hated about borough council was that every new council member came in with their own agenda.

"You're supposed to be here for the borough," he said, pointing out that members who don't get their way don't tend to last very long.

But he did say that council members have worked hard to give the maintenance department what it asks for.

And he also had high praise for current borough manager Joe Sporer.

"He's really got this place turned around," Phillips said.

Phillips said that of all the managers he's worked with, Sporer has been the most easy to talk to, and if he didn't understand what Phillips was saying "we find it out and we work it out together, I've never had that before."

Phillips plans to visit his sister in Florida "until she's sick of me," but he will be staying in the area until his wife retires from her position as an aide at Rocky Grove High School.

When asked what kind of legacy he would like to leave behind, Phillips laughed and swirled his coffee mug for a minute.

"What I'm most proud of is the way my guys have been able to adapt. We have so many hats we have to wear, every guy back there is a jack of all trades," he said.

And what will Phillips miss the least?

"I will not miss that phone," he said.

Phillips' retirement will leave nine men on the Sugarcreek maintenance department.

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