Irving ISD utilities foreman Jim Horn begins each work day at 4:45 AM. Since he resides in Weatherford, TX, his commute ranges from an hour to an hour-and-a-half on rainy days like this past Wednesday morning. But Horn doesn’t mind the commute because he gets to do something he loves each and every day.
A military veteran, Horn’s journey in Irving ISD began in October of 1994. After having various positions across the state of Texas, he started his career in the district as a master electrician before ultimately being promoted to utilities foreman. In his role, Horn prides himself on fostering strong relationships with campus administrators and building managers. He feels it’s one of the most important parts of the job.
“We need to have great relationships with campus personnel so they have confidence in us and know that whenever they call, we’re going to come out and fix whatever they need,” says Horn. “We don’t want them to worry about that stuff. Our team is here to take care of it.”
For Horn, no day looks the same, and he likes it that way. He typically arrives to work around 7 AM and ensures his team members have their assignments and are out of the door headed to their destinations by 7:20 AM. After that, he proceeds to finish up paperwork and check emails and online work orders to make sure there are no emergencies. After that, he spends his time ‘putting out small fires,’ which vary depending on the day.
This week, Horn assisted with the installation of the new Suzie Oelschlegel Gymnasium signage at MacArthur High School and transported equipment to/from Irving High School to de Zavala Middle School – all before his lunch break. After completing tasks off-site, he typically returns to the shop around 3 PM and spends the remaining 30 minutes of his shift preparing for the next day.
When asked about his favorite part of the job, he quickly credited the team of 22 employees he oversees.
“The guys in the shop are some really good men, and I love being around them every day,” he says. “I’m getting the credit, but it’s not me. It’s my team, because they’re going out doing the hard work each day and making things happen.”
Each year on March 3, we celebrate employees like Horn in honor of National Maintenance Worker Appreciation Day. It’s a great time to honor and thank them for their hard work year-round – something Horn says means a lot.
“It’s really nice to have someone say thank you. We don’t need it, but it’s really nice to hear,” says Horn. “It’s that simple to make people feel appreciated and valued.”
For Horn, he makes a point to lead in the same manner with those he supervises as well as anyone he comes in contact with.
“We appreciate people just as much as we like to be appreciated,” he says.