By Judy Jamal
The Staff Spotlight series features Earth Institute staff members from across the Morningside, Lamont and the Irving Medical Center campuses. The series is intended to highlight the important work our staff members do to keep the Earth Institute running smoothly and to support our mission of guiding the world onto more sustainable paths. These interviews discuss staff members’ careers, their interest in our institute, and insights that might be relatable and useful for the rest of us.
This month’s Staff Spotlight features Andrew Reed, who works as a facilities manager on our Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory campus. Reed studied engineering in school and has been a foster parent with his wife for over 20 years.
What inspired you to join the Earth Institute?
My career before coming to the Earth Institute was in the power generation field. I worked in every facet of the industry and in almost every type of fossil fuel and nuclear plant. The last 10 to 15 years, I was in performance and predictive maintenance. About five years ago, while still making power with fossil fuel, I could see that the renewable options were becoming much more cost effective, and began to support them. Eventually, as power plants in the area closed, I found that I could use my skills in performance and maintenance to help maintain buildings just as well. The fact that the Earth Institute was also working towards educating people on the environment is what interested me in working here.
What aspects of your job do you find uplifting?
I like it when we solve problems and when we prevent problems, but most of all I like the sense of family and caring I have with my assistants and mechanics. It is what gets me to work some days. That being said, I really like to be able to help the students and scientists and learn what they are working on. I think you should never stop learning and here at Lamont, I do not think I ever will stop.
What are your goals and dreams for yourself?
I achieved the first: I am the son of a career Army officer and I kept my kids in a house they love and schools they love for their entire academic career. After that, at some point I would like to retire to somewhere near a ski slope and further my passion of teaching kids to ski.
Are there any landmarks in your life you may wish to share with us?
Just two. My older daughter Samantha graduated in 2019 from the United States Air Force Academy and is currently a second lieutenant serving in Greenland. A couple of scientists here were helpful in orienting us on what the place would be like, which I am grateful for!
My other daughter, Julie, graduated last May from Clark University and will head to France to be an “au pair” for a year, then to law school (she graduated a year early). She has been stuck with Mom and Dad since March due to COVID.
How are you spending time outside of work during this pandemic?
Addressing a lot of jobs around the house that I was trying to ignore. Some hiking, gardening. We did have to travel to Colorado to get my daughter’s cats and bring them to us for the year she is in Greenland — that was interesting. We drove across the country in three days at the very beginning of July, and the differences in how COVID19 was being addressed were eye-opening.
What are your hobbies or past times?
I am a professional ski instructor and for the past 15 years, I have taught at the ski slope at West Point. In the last four, we have run a program called “Little Plebes” (plebes are what they call freshman at West Point) which teaches 3- and 4-year-olds about skiing. We had 40-plus kids every year. I also garden and tend do to a lot of whatever my girls — my wife of 26 years, and both my daughters — want!