Title: Facilities Coordinator
Hometown: Boyne Falls, Michigan
Current Home: Liberty Township, OH
Proudest career or life accomplishment: Raising the kids and supporting my wife in the early stages of her career as a stay-at-home dad has been my proudest life accomplishment. My best career accomplishment was to successfully complete an extensive commercial renovation project within an 8-month deadline.
Favorite local hangouts: Jungle Jim’s and Barnes & Noble
For Sibcy Cline’s Facilities Coordinator Eric Winhusen, family is a top priority. Until about 10 years ago, Eric was a stay-at-home dad raising his two daughters while his wife Karen pursued her career as a chemical engineer.
Eric met his wife Karen while in college; he was a geology student at UC and she was majoring in chemical engineering at Purdue. “Having spent time around engineers I thought I’d like to marry one and perked up when I met a chemical engineering student from Purdue at a group social event. Comparing notes later we discovered we both went through the same process of elimination that night: “no, no, no, maybe”. We like to say we were maybe at first sight and have been happily married since.”
The success of the partnership between Eric and Karen says a lot about their abilities to successfully navigate the balance of family needs and career development for two people. “When it came time to have kids, I chose to stay at home with our two girls and support Karen as she continued to blossom in her career. Family is our priority, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to spend those years with our kids.”
Eric admits that being a stay-at-home dad had its own set of unique challenges. “Moms have other moms to hang out with, but I was usually the only dad. It could be isolating.” To help provide some opportunities for adult conversation, he and his wife hosted church groups in their home. Another challenge, not unique to dads but difficult nonetheless, was the fact that being full-time caregiver didn’t lend itself to pursuing paid work. “Eventually, my college degree in geology was no longer relevant because I had no work experience. Also, flexibility was still important with young children, even when they were no longer babies.”
It was during the time that Eric was caring for their two daughters that he had the opportunity to join the Board of Trustees at their church, providing his first work experience managing a commercial facility. “When our kids hit school age, I was approached about joining church staff as a Facilities Coordinator. It was a new position and so the job description was vague; but the thought was, we’d figure it out together.”
Over the course of the next 10 years, Eric managed the facility calendar, procurement, IT, AV, safety, and administrative control of the office, fire, and security systems. He also worked with the Board of Trustees to maintain and renovate the 30,000 square-foot facility and surrounding property. “Those 10 years provided the time necessary to learn how to respond to a wide array of facility issues, help plan and manage several large projects and renovations, and ensure the facility met the evolving needs of the diverse groups using it,” says Eric.
Early in 2022, he received a cold call from Sibcy Cline about an opening in the facilities department and the timing couldn’t have been better. “The family-owned business and culture of Sibcy Cline sounded like a good fit, and as a bonus I am learning from a manager with substantial commercial facilities experience.”
Since he started in April of 2022, Eric has found numerous opportunities to expand his knowledge and experience in facilities management. “The learning curve for the software suites and becoming familiar with 20+ commercial properties spread widely around the region is both exciting and daunting. It is essential to have the support of a good team to succeed and I’m thankful to have that at Sibcy Cline.”
As it’s turned out, one of the things that Eric finds most rewarding about his job is the office culture. “While the variety and challenges of the job are appealing, my favorite part has been the interaction with [co-workers]. Learning names is not a strength of mine, so I’m mindful to work daily to build my knowledge base and make a point of creating a couple new personal connections every week.”
In his personal time, building relationships by spending time with family and friends is still a top priority as he and Karen prepare to be empty nesters. This year, their two daughters enter their junior and senior years in high school. “I’m eager to see the life choices they make and what kind of changes the next 6-8 years will bring for them,” he says.