Mark Watson | Photo Submitted by Mark Watson
Mark Watson is a maintenance worker at Wright State University (WSU) with a unique sense of humor and a colorful career in the maintenance industry.
Watson was born in Dayton and spent much of his life in the city. Around the age of 12, he moved to Huber Heights. Watson also lived out in Colorado for some time.
He considers himself well-traveled.
“I was like a gypsy,” said Watson. “A blond-headed gypsy is how I look at myself.”
The Centennial State is home to one of his favorite destinations, Colorado Springs, which he enjoys for a few reasons.
“I really liked the beach,” said Watson. “That’s probably about the best vacation I’ve had. I like to go cave exploring and go up Pikes Peak.”
His hobbies include riding roller coasters, fishing, traveling with his wife and growing vegetables. He is also a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers for an interesting reason.
“Everybody goes for the teams that are closer to them, which, to me, makes no sense, but I like the Green Bay Packers because I love nachos,” said Watson. “The Green Bay Packers fans are cheeseheads, so, to me, that makes a lot more sense than picking a team just because they’re close to me like the Bengals. Tigers are fine, but I don’t love tigers like I do nachos.”
A start in machining
Watson worked at Dayton Reliable Tool in shipping and receiving, and completed grunt work for the company. Later, he was promoted to running computer numerical control (CNC) machines. He also took maintenance jobs at Hara Arena during the 1980s and a local Mexican restaurant, which he enjoyed much more than running the machines.
“Standing behind a machine, it was getting really old and boring,” said Watson.
When the recession hit in the 1990s, Watson found it difficult to find a job and discovered a course for airline dispatchers in Sinclair Community College’s catalog that guaranteed a job for anyone who took it.
“They didn’t bother to tell you if you wanted a job, you would have to go to Alaska or move out of state, but at the time, I didn’t care,” said Watson.
Watson worked towards an associate degree in aviation administration and received his aviation dispatcher license. He found that course challenging but rewarding.
“I remember when I went to take my aviation dispatcher test, there was a guy taking an aircraft mechanic test,” said Watson. “I thought, ‘man, I feel so sorry for that guy taking that’ and he said ‘man, you’re doing dispatch? I feel so sorry for you.’ It was a hard test.”
Around this time, Watson met his wife. He worked at another job in the tool industry and soon began working at WSU.
Working at WSU
Watson applied for a job at WSU in 2015 when someone he knew who worked on campus recommended it to him. Starting as a janitor, he worked his way up the corporate ladder and became a maintenance worker. It is a job that he has always loved, and he has not seen a lot of changes in it during the coronavirus pandemic, though it has affected him mentally.
“As far as actual physical work, we’re always working,” said Watson. “There’s always things to do but mentally, it’s tough on us because we miss all of the people here.”