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February 20, 2017   Columns Articles | Campus Closeups | Maintenance worker’s upbringing builds appreciation…
Magnify Jacob, Cameron Campus Closeup 2017 port-h
Every day is different for Cameron Jacob, a skilled trades worker who does maintenance work on residential facilities at the Health Sciences Campus. Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski

Maintenance worker’s upbringing builds appreciation for the outdoors

Leigh Beeson

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Media Relations, Division of Marketing & CommunicationsDivision of Marketing & Communications
By Leigh Beeson | February 20, 2017
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FACTS

Cameron Jacob

Skilled Trades Worker

  • Health Sciences Campus/Family and Graduate Housing
  • University Housing
  • At UGA: 7.5 years

Cameron Jacob is good at fixing things that are broken, and on the Health Sciences Campus where residential facilities range from around 40 to 60 years in age, there's often a lot that needs upkeep.

Jacob's maintenance job in University Housing keeps him busy repairing broken heaters and busted pipes among other projects in the six ranch-style houses, 48 townhouses and residence hall on the campus.

His work days vary.

"We could have a slow day, and then a day you're working in sewage," Jacob said. "You just never know."

That variety keeps things interesting more than seven years after he first took the job.

"I haven't reached a point when I don't like getting up and going to work," Jacob said. "I really enjoy helping people, and I feel like we provide a good service for students."

Jacob is currently working to complete the Certificate in Supervisory Excellence program from UGA's Department of Training and Development. His final course is scheduled for early March, but he's already putting the skills he's learning to use by substituting as supervisor whenever his boss is out.

"Whether it is resolving conflicts or assigning tasks, the supervisor training has given me the confidence to tackle any issue that might arise," he said. "It's also been eye-opening to see the amount of resources and support available at the university."

Jacob grew up as an Army brat, moving from state to state and finally settling in Athens in the fall of 1990. Living in places like Colorado and Washington gave him an appreciation for the outdoors that's carried over into his adult life. Jacob always enjoyed camping growing up, but after getting married and becoming a father, he realized he'd probably have to change his camping style if he wanted to make those trips family events.

"My wife had never had the bug to be outdoorsy—her idea of roughing it is a five-minute power outage," he said jokingly.

Jacob convinced her to go on a camping trip to Lake Tugalo in Georgia to see if she liked it enough for them to potentially invest in an RV, but he forgot to check the weather forecast. The trip was going well until lightning and torrential rain stranded them inside the tent Jacob brought while all their gear got soaked. But his plan worked: Although his wife was miserable at the time, she told him on the ride home that she'd need something with a roof over her head if she was going to do this camping thing again.

"We purchased a travel trailer and have never looked back," Jacob said.

Exploring Georgia's extensive state park system is easy from his home base just outside Athens. And Jacob gets to be part of the UGA community, something he wanted since arriving in Athens more than 20 years ago.

"The overall feeling that I'm contributing to these students' experiences and doing a little part in helping develop them into the future leaders of America," he said, "it's just gratifying."

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