From biology teacher to small business owner to public school treasurer, Dale Hluch has held a variety of positions in his career, but never has he felt so much at home as in his latest. As the new director of NEOMED campus operations, Hluch oversees a 22-member department that includes maintenance; grounds; environmental and occupational health and safety; and the mail and package delivery crews.
Looking back, it seems like a natural path for Hluch (pronounced Ha LUKE), a 25-year veteran high school biology teacher who says he was motivated to go into teaching because he could move around and take his students outside and build houses.
The father of four boys, born and raised in Rootstown, grew up helping his dad, a builder, with construction projects. As an adult, Hluch spent time building speculative homes and selling them; remodeling residential and commercial properties; and owning rental properties and a storage facility. After retiring as a teacher, he became a school treasurer and business manager at Garaway Local Schools in Sugarcreek and then at Bio-Med STEM high school here on the NEOMED campus, but found that sitting behind a desk was not for him. Being around machinery, constantly moving around campus, he feels right at home.
Hluch was able to transition into the new position by shadowing recently retired former director Jim Rankin for three months. With Rankin’s help, Hluch says he has never felt more welcome or part of the fold.
The broad responsibilities put Hluch on call seven days a week. He supervises construction projects and oversees maintenance of the original part of campus, both inside and out. (The NEW Center and The Village are managed by Signet Development.) Hluch’s crews handle mowing, trimming and care of NEOMED’s 107 acres. The director’s financial background comes in handy, say, when he is submitting documents to the State Controlling Board for large capital projects, such as getting a new roof.
What’s the best way to reach him or his crew? For non-emergency repairs, filling out a work order is the best approach. But if the heat is off or there is an emergency, says Hluch, give Campus Operations a call right away: “We are here to help.’’