Melissa Walsh

The boys are back in town

Grosse Pointe News | May 17th, 2018 | News section


The boys are back in town By Melissa Walsh

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Those enjoying the clean roads and lovely landscaping of Grosse Pointe Shores have “the kids” to thank — or the summer crew of college men hired by Shores Department of Public Works Supervisor Harold Michaux.

Michaux, who grew up in the Shores and has worked for its DPW 31 years, brings in 10 part-time workers each year for seasonal cleanup and ground maintenance.

“I got a couple kids on the scooter that pick up the trash,” Michaux explained. “I got a couple kids on the back-up garbage truck that picks up the brush by the curb. And I got kids working in the gardening department, on the grounds. And also kids working at the park on the grounds and at the pool.”

“It’s a hard-working summer job,” said Andrew Hawring, 19. “You just grind. But you get to look at the lake all day so it’s really not that bad.”

“You get a beautiful view,” added Kyle Clement, 19. “And you get wonderful people to work with.”

“This is totally new for me, but I love it so far,” said Jonathon Hawring, Andrew’s twin brother.

The seasonal workers assist the DPW’s 10 full-time employees in serving Shores residents.

“(The kids) love their jobs here,” Michaux said. “They have fun. I want them to have fun. They do the work.”

Michaux said he begins hiring young people for seasonal work early spring, beginning with inviting kids who worked previous seasons to return. He said, though the positions are not limited to young men, that’s the demographic applying.

Michaux said Shores Master Gardener Mike Way was one of those college kids returning seasonally. After graduating from Michigan State University, Way accepted full-time employment with the village.

“I have a bunch of good kids,” Michaux said. “A kid came in today. This is his fourth year. The first thing he did was come up to me to shake my hand and say, ‘Thanks for having me back.’”

Mechanic Scott DeGeer accepts help from those demonstrating mechanical aptitude and a willingness to learn.

“You have a guy who has the ability and you can guide him and bring him up a level,” he said.

DeGeer maintains the village’s fleet of vehicles, from the SUVs and fire trucks used by public safety officers to the medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks used by DPW staff to keep the village clean and roads clear.

“When the kids come, obviously they break more things,” DeGeer said. “A lot of them haven’t been exposed to a gas-operated power tool. So then there’s teaching them. Harold does a lot of that. … But without the kids, it’s a lot of work in the summer.”

Added DeGeer, “There was one. His father was the Grosse Pointe Park mechanic. He came here and he was going to be an engineer. He was my helper for a couple of years in a row. And he worked out great. He ended up hiring in full time.”

Nick Rudd wears several hats at Shores DPW, frequently assisting DeGeer with vehicle maintenance or customizing vehicles with functional fit-ups, such as a ramp to push leaves onto a truck.

“Nick’s kind of the fabricator here. He does all the welding,” DeGeer said.

Rudd acquired mechanical and fabricating skills from his father, Doug Rudd, before working for Shores DPW part time in 2008 and then moving to full time in 2013.

“It’s cool. There’s always new things to do,” Rudd said.

“We have a great group of guys here,” Michaux said.