NACS celebrates Schipper’s years of service
By Hadley Gaff, Features Editor
Tom Schipper (center) serves the cake at his retirement party to his friends and colleagues at NACS.
Monday February 29 was the last day of Tom Schipper’s nearly 29 year career at Northwest Allen County Schools (NACS). Schipper had been the Buildings and Grounds Director since the position was created in 2004.
As Buildings and Grounds Director, Schipper was in charge of overseeing all the maintenance of NACS’s seven elementary schools, two middle schools, high school, natatorium, and transportation center. He was responsible for coordinating with and hiring outside contractors to do repairs such as those done on the roof of Carroll High School in the summer of 2015.
In 2007, when the high school underwent a building renovation of approximately 300,000 square feet, Schipper was involved in the construction’s dynamics. Major projects such as construction made Schipper’s job “pretty busy and tense” due to the amount of work needing to be done in a short time frame.
Schipper began his career in NACS at Arcola Elementary School as a head custodian. This position became available to him after being laid off by Harvester International, a company that manufactured agricultural machinery and trucks. After working at Arcola, he was transferred to Carroll High School under the same position. Then during 2004, when the job was created, Schipper was hired as the Buildings and Grounds Director.
Schipper likes working with his hands and most enjoyed his time as a head custodian when he could be involved in maintenance outdoors.
“When I was at the high school [Carroll] as the head custodian,” Schipper said, “I took care of a lot of the outside stuff. I mean I really liked taking care of the football field and baseball fields and that kind of stuff.”
After almost 29 years with NACS, Schipper had had the opportunity to meet and work closely with many other NACS employees. In leaving, he is sad to say goodbye to his colleagues and friends.
“It’s just been nice to have a lot of good people to work with,” Schipper said, “and, you know, I’ve had good principals, I’ve had good bosses, good coworkers. When you’ve got the kind of people that we have, you know anybody can do what I do, but they make me look good. I appreciate that.”
Though he will miss the people he has worked alongside, Schipper isn’t disheartened about retirement. Because he is a firm believer “that you can’t just quit when you retire,” he looks forward to keeping busy with some interests he didn’t have as much time for when he was working.
“I’m kinda a car nut,” Schipper said. “I try to go to a lot of car shows. Do some of that and maybe get into, I used to play golf, maybe start playing golf again. And I’d really like to look into doing some volunteer work of some sort. You know, kinda give back, because I feel like I’ve been pretty fortunate… I’ve been pretty lucky to be here about 28 and a half years and I’ve always liked what I did.”
Schipper is considering getting a part time job that will keep him busy three to four days a week in addition to the work he does with his dump truck. During the spring and summer months, he hauls mulch and dirt. This played a part in his decision to retire in March as April is typically his busiest month with the dump truck and he wanted to have a bit of free time to relax before the spring rush.
Schipper hopes to acclimate well to retirement, but he knows it’s going to take some time to abandon his daily routine. Still, he looks forward to change of pace that will come with this new adventure.
“It’s going to take me a while to get used to not getting up at 5 o’clock in morning and coming to work. But, maybe that’ll be okay. I might grow to like that. I don’t know if I’m excited, you know. Kind of, but it’s a different, big step...”