From clerk to master craftsman: Maintenance technician creates a legacy of innovation at HCDE1
January 13, 2023 by HCDE Communications
Lloyd Compton’s journey to master craftsman at HCDE took him through several states and various positions within the organization. And along the way, he has picked up numerous titles: purchasing clerk, mailroom clerk, utility craftsman, and now, maintenance technician III.
“I have no idea what my title actually is,” Compton said with a laugh. “It keeps changing. Kinda like my job.”
A Texas transplant, Compton grew up in California before moving to Atlanta when his mom was transferred with Texaco. A few years later, she was given the choice of moving to Chicago or Houston. She chose Texas, and he tagged along.
“So that’s why I’m here,” he said.
Compton started his career at HCDE more than 25 years ago in the purchasing department, having left the banking industry during a takeover. His first job was reconciling bills and light bookkeeping. He soon applied for a full-time job in the mailroom before transferring to the maintenance department a few years later. And while each job has been unique, Compton said he likes his work with maintenance the best because it is never boring.
“You never do the same thing every day. You get out, travel to different locations, and do whatever needs to be taken care of. That is very appealing to me,” he said. “I like to not be stuck behind a desk doing the same monotonous thing day and day out. You never know what you are going to get involved in. It’s been a joy.”
Compton’s supervisor, John Prestigiacomo, director of maintenance, said that Compton is a dedicated worker who serves as the “go to guy” for most projects. In fact, Prestigiacomo considers Compton a friend, co-worker, and mentor.
“He’s got the answer for any kind of problem I have,” Prestigiacomo said. “He almost never misses work, and he’s always there for you no matter what. He’s really one in a million.”
Throughout his time in HCDE, while his job has shifted duties, one thing has remained constant: Compton’s ability to take unique projects and make them successful at HCDE. The most recent example of this is with furniture in the Superintendent’s Office.
Compton said the superintendent’s bookcase was falling apart, so they found a vendor to replace it. The company suggested a durable hard surface for the credenza worktop leading Compton to research local granite vendors. The superintendent joined Compton on a trip to view options and Compton then worked with the vendor to size the chosen stone. He even helped carry the heavy worktop upstairs to the superintendent’s office on the fourth floor.
“It took five of us. There were two on the front, two on the back, and me in the middle. We walked it up four flights of stairs because we couldn’t get it into the elevator,” Compton said. “Then, a week later, he decided he wanted to do the surface of his desk in the remaining granite. So we pieced that together. It was definitely one of the most interesting requests I’ve had.”
But getting the worktop in place was not the end of the job. Once installed, Compton worked to custom fit USB ports into it for a seamless look.
“We had to really think outside the box on this one. We knew we had to countersink and drill holes in the granite to place them,” Compton said. “We had to learn how to do that on the fly. It was like, ‘OK, what do we need to cut the granite?’ I had to learn very quickly how to do it without chipping or cracking it.”
Prestigiacomo said this type of innovative mindset is what sets Compton apart. He is humble, never brags and just goes about doing his job.
“For him, this is just another day at work. But the rest of us are like, ‘you built a piece of art!’” Prestigiacomo said. “To Lloyd, it’s just part of his job.”
This type of ingenuity is a hallmark of Compton’s work at HCDE and one of the reasons he is considered HCDE’s DIY master craftsman. When something needs to be done, and it is not a typical job, Compton is the first call leaders make.
“He never looks to find the easy way out. He says let’s do it to the best of our ability and make sure that it’s completely done,” Prestigiacomo said. “He’s not the kind of guy who gets called back on a job because it wasn’t done right. His jobs are always done right the first time.”
But more than his creativity, drive, and commitment to excellence, Compton’s greatest attribute is his attitude. Prestigiacomo said that Compton doesn’t complain when asked to do something, always replying, “no problem.”
“It’s just his character. He is always like, ‘sure, I can do that,’” Prestigiacomo said. “He’s my go-to man. He’s got an answer for anything that I have a problem with.”
During his decades with HCDE, Compton has seen the organization grow, shift, and evolve. He recalled days past when one person ordered all the furniture as well as having a central warehouse that stocked supplies for schools and divisions. He also remembers when Records Management was just another division in the Irvington building and can picture the day the first Head Start Center opened.
“HCDE has changed quite a bit since I’ve been here,” he said. “We’ve moved people all around, opened new schools, started new divisions and programs. Yeah, things have changed quite a bit.”
But now, the guy who says he really doesn’t like change is getting ready to take the next step in his career: retirement. And that’s a big step for someone who likes variety but on his terms.
“I would like to get an RV and travel since we don’t get to travel much now. I’d like to just get on the road and run around for a while,” he said. “I saw a lot when I moved from California to Atlanta. We drove cross country and went to all the stops on the way: Grand Canyon, Carlsbad, New Orleans, whatever. I’d like to do that again.”
What a talented and valuable employee! It’s great to see talented and hard-working people get recognized.