Matt Hirsch, regional facilities engineer, goes by many titles at Akron Children’s: maintenance engineer, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician, plumber, electrician and “fix-it” guy. When he began doing off-site maintenance work, he added a new title: ambassador.
“Six years ago, the regional facilities role was created at Children’s,” Matt said. “Bill Considine (Akron Children’s CEO Emeritus) said we were like ‘ambassadors’ to the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics (ACHP) offices located around northeast Ohio. We made sure their maintenance needs were met and did whatever we could, so they felt welcomed and connected to Children’s.”
After 37 years of ensuring that all Children’s locations are in good working order, Matt retires on June 2. He’ll swap his toolbelt for his fishing rod and spend time with family and friends relaxing, fishing and hunting.
What brought you to Children’s?
I worked in construction for 10 years, and it was a really cold winter. I wanted to find an inside job and applied at Children’s. Shirley Fee in the central supply department hired me.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
I started as a linen tech, picking up dirty linens and distributing clean linens throughout the hospital. Back then, I only planned to stay a few years and return to construction, but I liked working at Children’s. I took a job in shipping and purchasing, which involved handling thousands of deliveries Children’s receives monthly. In 1987, a maintenance job opened. Ever since I was a boy, I’ve done home and car repairs, holding the flashlight for my dad, handing him tools and gaining technical maintenance expertise. In 2015, I became one of Children’s first regional facilities engineers. I travel to Children’s locations within a 25-county region. In one way, my dad is always with me. I take his Craftsman toolbox to every site I visit.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
Akron Children’s often partners with other organizations to acquire ACHP locations and regional buildings. I work with the staff to set up and maintain their sites so they’re comfortable and safe for our patients and their families. We work as a team. If something breaks, they’re my eyes and ears to let me know.
How has Children’s changed since you started here?
Our use of advanced technology has grown. I’m learning daily. When I started, work orders consisted of carbon copies. Now, I access work orders on my laptop and iPhone. Recently, we began installing barcode labels on exit and egress lights. The labels have a QR code embedded with a serial number that aid in tracking and managing assets, like mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment. Employees can scan the QR code with a smart phone or tablet to create a work order quickly.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
Helping my co-workers. When we work as a team, things work great. It’s also a nice feeling to help our regional sites. When I go there to fix something, it’s almost like I get a standing ovation when I walk in!
What is your happiest moment at Akron Children’s?
There are so many, but I especially liked being part of the 98.1 KDD Radiothon and Holiday Tree Festival and seeing the children smile.
With so many little children here, did someone or something especially touch your heart?
Yes, the Family Child Learning Center (FCLC) in Tallmadge. The way the doctors and teachers work with developmentally disabled children is heartwarming.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Watching the sunrise from my fishing boat.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Come to work on time, always smile and help each other, even if it’s not in your job description.
What couldn’t you live without?
I couldn’t live without my wife, daughters, family and friends. They keep me behaving!
What music do you like? Where and how do you listen to it?
I listen to rock ‘n’ roll loudly, mostly by myself in my car.
What’s the last book your read?
I read hundreds of hunting and fishing magazines instead of books.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Spending time outdoors enjoying Mother Nature. I love fresh air, something my father and mother taught me.
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