James Gentry Is August Employee of the Month

Posted: August 1, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

Name: James Gentry

Current position: HVAC Technician

Years at Mason: Six years in September

James Gentry
James Gentry with his Employee of the Month award
Photo by Nicolas Tan

What he does: Service and installation of heating and cooling equipment

What he enjoys most about his job: Gentry enjoys fixing things for people. “There have been many people saying, ‘It is always too hot or too cold in my office, and they have never been able to fix it.’ So I come through and balance out the air, and it makes me happy when I then have people saying, ‘Wow, we have never been this comfortable in here.’ Those things are really good, being able to make people comfortable.”

Life before Mason: Before working at Mason, Gentry worked for the Prince William County Park Authority as a building engineer doing HVAC, plumbing and electrical work. Prior to that, he was in the military for 20 years.

What he does for fun: “I actually have no hobbies, but when I get off work I go home and relax by watching TV and spending time with my family.”

Something people may not know about him: Gentry claims to be a ‘plain person,’ and says the most exciting thing about him is his military career. “I have been retired from the military for 10 years now. I was deployed to Saudi Arabia, but it was to train the Saudi military. I was also in Honduras during the Iran-contra [era], but I never had any bullets flying at me, so I was never in harm’s way.”

What he is doing this summer: “On the fourth of July, my family and I rented a house in Delaware close to Fenwick Island. It was actually the most extravagant thing I have ever done in my life, so it was really awesome.”

What others say about him:

“Jim has some of the best work ethics I have seen in an employee. In my opinion, work ethics include character, teamwork, productivity, attitude, appearance, cooperation and respect. It would be hard to find another person who has more of these traits than Gentry. He is a team player; he takes every new employee under his wing and helps them get started off on the right foot at Mason. He always looks at the positive side in everything he does, and this shows in his great attitude. He seldom complains no matter how difficult or dirty the job may be. As for cooperation, Gentry is always willing to help whoever needs it, be it in our shop or another. Because of all these traits, Gentry has the respect of every person at the physical plant.”

—Venton Chaney, HVAC supervisor

“James makes himself available to what the need might be and is willing to work with anyone day or night (and weekends) during unforeseen equipment failures, power outages, flooding situations and other “act of God” emergencies. He has worked beyond his normal workday hours countless times without asking for compensation. I can count on less than one hand the actual number of sick days that Gentry has taken during his overall employment with Mason. Gentry has found several design problems with new building construction that go beyond normal HVAC maintenance and repair and has made recommendations for corrective actions as needed.”

—William Schmidt, senior HVAC technician

“James is not only the most knowledgeable HVAC mechanic I have ever met, but he is always there for you. He will go out of his way to help anyone with a problem, it does not matter what trade they are in or what the problem might be. Though James is not in my shop, I could only wish for a man like him. When you get someone that cares for the campus as James does, you know you have a keeper.”

—James Moran, plumbing supervisor

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