TC at Work: Teofilo 'Tito' Vega | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC at Work: Teofilo 'Tito' Vega

Serving the College any way he can
Who He Is
Tito Vega is a boiler operator and watch engineer. Hired one year ago, he is responsible for maintaining TC’s three massive boilers and various chillers in the central heating and cooling plant located in the basement of Russell Hall.

Road to TC
Vega, 48, owned his own contracting business for almost 20 years and at one point had 19 employees. His company was mostly involved, as a subcontractor, in building homes and subdivisions across Long Island, but also did work on high-rise buildings in Manhattan. Born in Puerto Rico, Vega immigrated to the United States when he was 14. His family settled in New York City, and today he lives in the Bronx. For as long as he can remember, Vega has been fascinated by how mechanical and electrical things work. He can as easily repair an enormous boiler as build a guitar by hand.

Best Part of the Job
“I would have to say it’s being part of such a great institution like Teachers College. For so many years, I walked past this building, and never in my dreams did I think I would ever work in a place like this. I am very proud to work here and always try to go beyond what is asked of me. I take pride in my work; it’s how my father raised us and the pride I have as a Hispanic.”

Most Memorable TC Experience
“One night Security called me and said, ‘Tito, we have a situation here.’ A woman was stuck in the elevator in Macy Hall, and the elevator company wasn’t available to take care of it. So I took matters into my own hands. I knew about elevators because I had worked with them when I had my business, so I helped the woman get out.”

In His Spare Time
“I always try to give back. I’ve given to TC just about every month I’ve worked here, and I give of my time to a soup kitchen in the Bronx run by my church in Parkchester [in the Bronx]. And I try to help young people whenever I can. I tell them, ‘I never had a chance to get an education, but you do. Don’t waste that opportunity. Take advantage of it and better yourself and help our people advance in this country.’”

Editor’s Note: TC at Work is a new feature in
Inside that will highlight employees throughout the College. If you would like to see a profile on one of your colleagues, please email

Published Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2009