Everyday Hero: Chris Beery
Posted: October 21, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
Editor’s note: This Daily Gazette feature profiles key people at Mason who “make it happen.”
Name: Chris Beery
Years at Mason: 8
Current Position: Operations Manager, Office of Events Management
What He Does: You might see him in a golf cart moving people and/or objects across the Fairfax Campus, frequently in the spring during Commencement and Convocation. Beery manages the Office of Events Management (OEM), troubleshooting and solving problems as they crop up. He also coordinates several special events throughout the year.
First Job at Mason: Beery started at OEM in 1996 as the scheduling coordinator for Student Union I, Student Union II, and the Johnson Center.
What He Likes Best About His Job: “I think it’s the people that make this job fun, the people I work with and for,” says Beery. “It’s a great team.”
His Greatest Challenge at Work: “Trying to stay cool while the spackle hits the fan,” he says, which is almost every day.
On Dressing for “Success”: “Several years back our office was managing a Madeleine Albright event in Dewberry Hall,” he says. “She was the Secretary of State, so naturally there was security out the ying yang. Event support personnel were having all kinds of trouble getting past the Secret Service and other security to work the event. I was dreading my attempt to get past the DMZ. I was dressed in dark slacks, a white button-down shirt, a red tie, and loafers—luckily, the garb of choice for security people. When I approached Dewberry Hall, I had a radio in my hand and was barking orders of some sort to the person on the other end. I readied myself for the third degree, but when I got to the security checkpoint, the guard ordered the line aside, waved me through, and said, ‘Ken, good to see you, sir.’ The guy practically threw me a salute. So I gave him a nod, and in I went. Seems a tie, a radio, and an attitude will get you anywhere.”
Photos by Evan Cantwell
His “Greatest” Accomplishment to Date: “Well maybe not the greatest, but damn good,” says Beery. “Shooting 2 over par to beat my college roommate by one stroke in a golf match. The stakes—a hundred bucks, bourbon, a lobster tail, and bragging rights for 15 years.”
Of All the Famous People He’s Met, Who Impressed Him Most and Why? “I’m impressed with people who treat their fellow human beings, no matter their station in life, with dignity and respect. Former Redskin Charles Mann, Ed Meese [former rector of Mason’s Board of Visitors], Chuck Robb [former Virginia governor and senator], and Congressman Tom Davis are among those who have impressed me as being extraordinarily decent men.”
What He Does for Fun: “I play golf and racquetball, and watch the Redskins lose.”
What You Might Not Know about Him: “While I have some of the hallmarks of a conservative yuppie at work, I’m actually a hippie at heart,” he says. He is also working on a novel. “It is something I have had in my mind to do for many years. In college [University of Richmond], two professors who I admired greatly expressed interest in my writing and encouraged me to take it as far as I could. Subsequently, some important people in my life have urged that I stop making excuses and put pen to paper. The novel is not finished, so I’ll be vague and say simply that it is set in Old Town Alexandria and is about a father, son, and grandfather who struggle with what defines them as men, as Irish, and as members of their clan. And what would a novel be without betrayal, guilt, and murder?”
What People Say about Him:
“One of the great things about Chris Beery is that he is as solid professionally as he is personally. When it comes to working on a project or an event here at the university, if Chris is involved, then it’s like having money in the bank. He is extremely dependable, efficient, and professional. On a personal level, he is very supportive, good company, and caring. Knowing Chris is both a joy and a privilege.”
—Dan Walsch, Executive Director, University Relations
“Chris Beery is an ambulatory archive of institutional knowledge; he knows where the resources are on campus, who controls them, and what needs to be done to obtain those resources for a specific need. His friendly demeanor allows him to navigate jurisdictional shoals in a manner few other people at Mason can. Many complex events have run seamlessly due to his talent, customer service ethic, and willingness to go the extra mile.”
—Buz Grover, Manager, Learning Support Services, DoIT
“When Chris came back, it was like a huge weight was lifted [Beery left the university briefly during the 2003-04 academic year]. Everyone I told was delighted. I have never seen a reaction like that around here.”
—Barbara Lubar, Director, Office of Events Management