2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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TC at Work: James Jimenez

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TC at Work: James Jimenez

James Jimenez and his team are responsible for anything that needs painting throughout the 1.3 million square feet of the College's academic and residential campus space.

Who He Is
 
James Jimenez is a foreman in the facilities department in charge of the College’s painting crew that includes three workers. His team is responsible for anything that needs painting throughout the 1.3 million square feet of academic and residential campus space. 


Road to TC
 
Jimenez first worked in the mailroom of the Hearst Corporation in midtown Manhattan after graduating from high school in New York City. In a sense, though, Jimenez had been in the working world long before he joined Hearst, having grown up helping his father run the family gas station. “I used to do all the jobs: breaks, tune-ups, you name it. And, of course, I also pumped a lot of gas.” He came to TC in 1994 as a shipping and receiving clerk.
 
Best Part of the Job
 
For Jimenez, it’s the busy period that begins in May. More than 200 dorm rooms will empty after students clear out at the end of the spring semester. All of them have to be cleaned and painted—fast, before the start of the summer session. For Jimenez and his team, the busy period extends through October. Then there is the academic side of the house that needs to be maintained. “You name it, we do it: classrooms, corridors, offices, stairwells. Whatever needs to be done, but there’s only four of us so we’re always playing catch up. The place looks great, though. It’s been maintained well because we don’t skip any procedures. We do things right.”
 
 
In His Spare Time
 
Jimenez is Dad to two boys, ages 7 and 10. When he’s not tied up with his duties coaching his sons’ Little League team in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, he’s ferrying them around to basketball games, swimming lessons and even guitar and drum lessons. “So I’m busy. I don’t have much time for myself.” But given his passion for all things automotive, every once in a while he finds the time to rebuild a car or motorcycle part by part. “I’ve always been mechanical—good with my hands.” 
 
 
Did You Know?
 
He’s an avid cook, so much so that his kids can’t wait for the weekends when he’ll get up early to make breakfast. After putting in his 30 years in at TC, he’d like to retire at the age of 54 and take a shot at opening his own restaurant. “I love to cook,” he says. “I grew up watching my grandmother cook and just fell in love with it. I didn’t dare say it to my friends, but now I’m proud of it.” 
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