Inside ECS: Bill Drehmel, Building Services

For Bill Drehmel, coming to Elkhart was an easy choice.

“I wanted to be part of a district that has direction, that’s looking to the future instead of the past. I want to be part of an organization who is asking ‘how do we make things better?’ and making progress. I see Elkhart as a growing community with a solid family background, with a school who is working hard to attract new students.”

As the director of building services, Bill oversees all building operations at the district. The most appealing part of the job for Bill is the fact that no two days are the same. “Every day is different, with different challenges and opportunities. I’m fortunate to have a job where I can clearly see a problem and fix it. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that I made a difference at the end of the day, that my work helps continue the educational experience for our students and staff.”

This field is not new for Bill. Prior to Elkhart Community Schools, Bill was the assistant director of capital projects for South Bend schools for 12 years. His educational background includes degrees in Architectural Drafting from Ivy Tech and Architectural Studies (with a double major in Business Operations) from Andrews University. He was also a licensed real estate broker for 10 years.

As he thinks about the variety of challenges he’s faced in similar roles, he said he’s seen everything from fires to floods, but nothing compared to a flooded pool a few years ago at a prior workplace. As he was sitting down to eat Christmas dinner, the police called him to let him know that one of his school buildings had water flowing out of the front door. When he arrived, he found an entire wing of a building under about a foot of water, a result of an employee accidentally leaving the pool fill on for a few days while the building was closed.

While the work itself has been pretty consistent with other building service positions, one thing that’s been a pleasant surprise at ECS for Bill is the heart and atmosphere of the people around him. “Everyone here has such a great motivational spirit. From day one, I’ve felt welcomed and part of a team. Throughout all of our buildings, people have been encouraging, helpful, considerate, and patient. No one wants problems, but when you can work together to overcome them, it’s such a great feeling.”

Bill hopes to keep up with the fantastic example his boss, Tony Gianesi, has set for him, saying that he’s done a great job with organizing the building services team. It’s Bill’s goal to keep our buildings as clean and safe as possible, while making them attractive and maximizing the educational opportunities in all of our buildings.

Outside of work, Bill enjoys spending time on Lake Michigan. He is recently married, has two stepchildren, and just built a house.

Bill is currently reading: Bill is currently taking a class at Purdue University to become certified to apply pesticides, so his current books are about pesticides and fertilization. He loves to read and keep up with the news, and enjoys reading about Lake Michigan and shipwrecks.