Jason Resko, Power Plant Operator at University of Notre Dame


“We run the boilers which make the steam that powers the generators and the air conditioning chillers… this is like a city. We make the heat, the air conditioning, we bring the water up out of the ground, and make the electricity that makes the campus run. The only thing Notre Dame uses the city of South Bend for is wastewater. Any water that runs down the drain is treated at the wastewater treatment plant. Other than that, everything is here.”

“I did what I loved in the Coast Guard for 21 years and then I was able to score a job at Notre Dame… it’s nice being a part of something that’s bigger than you. That’s what being in the military is like. It’s like you’re just a small piece of something greater than one person, and I feel like this is just another example of that.”

“My first memory of Notre Dame, actually being here, was March of 2006. We [his family] had plans to move out here when I retired from the Coast Guard in 2014, but this was our first visit to South Bend. I was at a school in Great Lakes, Michigan for 2 weeks, and the weekend in the middle she [his wife] flew out here. It was a beautiful spring day. We drove to campus, and that’s when we came upon Notre Dame for the first time. We spent the whole day walking around, going in and out of all the buildings, and taking pictures. I still remember it like it was yesterday. The weather was beautiful, so that made it even more special. Eight years later we moved here.”

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Mary Ann Sobieralski, Lead Monitor at University of Notre Dame South Dining Hall

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What is one piece of advice you would give to students?

“Number one, be true to yourself. You can learn a lot of things from books, but sometimes life experiences will teach you more. If you get knocked down, get back up again. Life isn’t a barrel of roses all the time, so you need to learn to not take everything to heart. Be yourself and enjoy, one day at a time. Also, money isn’t everything. Family and friendship are most important. Nobody will love you like your family. You can always depend on them. We’ve all had some bad experiences, but we’ve also had a lot of good ones too. So be yourself and just enjoy, one day at a time.”

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Andre Bridges, Lieutenant and Supervisor for the afternoon shift at the University of Notre Dame

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“ I had a student come to me once. She had lost her debit card and it was right at break so kids are getting put out of the dorms. And she didn’t have any money, she panicked, she came here and asked if anyone had found her debit card and I said ‘where’d you lose it?’ she said she thought she’d lost it on 23. I said it would have never made it back here. Now she’s upset, crying. So I said ‘call your parents. Let them know.’”
“So she did and I talked to her Dad…and I asked him ‘What does it cost for her to get home?’ And so I said ‘Well why don’t I give her 200 bucks and that’ll get her home, and you can just write me a check and just send it back to me.’ And he said ‘You’ll do that?’ ‘Pshh yea, consider it done.’ … I would want someone to do the same thing for my kid, treat her like part of the family.”

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Mike Manijak, Maintenance Dept. Zone 5 worker at the University of Notre Dame

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What advice would you give to students?

“Try to be an all-around person.”

Meet Mike Manijak, a worker in the Maintenance Division and, though he is too humble to admit it, an all-around person himself. Mike joined Notre Dame as a dining hall worker twenty-six years ago, and since he started here, “it’s like an Industrial Revolution.” He’s done it all—four or five years ago, he came up with the idea for the pulley system that Zahm uses for its “Here Come the Irish” banner every home game day. After two years in the dining halls, he transferred to General Services, where he was trained in everything from laying tiles to plumbing work. Now, he works in Maintenance Zone 5, which ensure that every research building on campus, including Jordan Hall of Science, runs smoothly every day.

In Mike’s daily work, “everything could be a potential emergency.” As he explains it, “Every time you get a call for something, you’ve got millions of dollars’ worth of equipment in these buildings… You never know what you’re getting into.” Mike, along with the three other workers in Zone 5 and their supervisor Bill, were honored with the Team Irish award this year: they were brought out onto the football field during the Miami game in recognition of their excellent work. Mike’s supervisor Bill said, “Customer satisfaction is our biggest goal, and Mike is fantastic at it… when people do appreciate [our work], it’s heartwarming.” Working in Maintenance Zone 5 isn’t easy, but Mike enjoys the challenge. “When these guys do their job right, you never know it”—and they most certainly do.

Over 26 years, Mike has seen a lot at the University, but two moments stand out to him: the week of 9/11 and the death of Fr. Ted Hesburgh. When 9/11 happened, Mike was working in General Services, and he particularly remembers everybody working together to set up a spur-of-the-moment mass on the quad. He remembers Fr. Hesburgh fondly: “he was a very approachable person; he would come up and talk to us all the time” when Mike would go to his office to do work for him.

Mike likes to play golf with his friends in his free time: “It’s relaxing… you get out there, hit the ball, and don’t think about anything else.” He likes to do a lot of work around the house, as well as a lot of volunteer work, such as Christmas in April, where he uses his construction and maintenance skills to help those in need.

Mike has three interrelated pieces of advice for students, all of which he learned from his parents: “Do a little bit of everything so you get the experience of [it].” “Try to get everybody’s perspective on something else.” And… “Try to be an all-around person.”

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