Like a lot of teenagers, Chuck Reid, telecommunications technician in information services infrastructure, dreamed big. In Chuck’s case, he played guitar and bass, and performed locally in a band. Some shows were on school nights and went late into the night. Although his parents encouraged him musically, they made sure Chuck woke up on time for school, fulfilled his responsibilities and developed achievable goals.
Chuck has continued to use those early lessons at Akron Children’s in ways that help hospital employees achieve objectives and focus on the big picture. For nearly 32 years, he has installed phones, programmed Children’s inbound and outbound calls so they operate reliably and efficiently and managed behind-the-scenes tasks to fend off or fix problems.
“Telephones are so important to the way that Children’s is integrated into the broader community,” said Chuck, who estimates he has installed over 2,000 phones during his career. “It’s one of the reasons I like working on phones. It’s a personal item and allows you to hear someone’s voice. My hope is that the phones I work on provide more good news than bad to our patients and their families when they’re used.”
On September 8, Chuck retires. He plans to spend time with his family, listen to the sounds of nature and make music, either with friends or on his own.
What brought you to Children’s?
I left Akron to live and work in Houston, Texas, where one of my jobs was doing telephone wiring and electrical work. I learned the Bell Telephone Company coding system. When I moved back, Children’s was hiring. I applied and was hired to work in environmental services. During my first week, Children’s posted a telecommunications technician job, which was a newly created position. Because of my familiarity with phone systems, Joe Ritzert, former director of telecommunications, hired me. He told me he had no idea how they were going to keep me busy!
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
After one month in environmental services, I joined telecommunications, which was its own department. We’re now part of information systems. Over the years, I’ve worked on various phone systems, including Rolm, Nortel and now, Cisco. Each brought more connectivity and increased functions that benefitted Children’s as we expanded. We continue to add new phone numbers and call flow menus with these expansions, allowing me to work closely with many people throughout Children’s, as well as with our telecommunications vendors. I’ve worked with terrific technicians in my department, who will continue handling the phones. Tom Carli, Brook Briner, RJ Fetkovich and Anthony Bubniw are great guys, and I’ll miss them dearly.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
For 25 years, I’ve worked alongside Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation and Children’s Public Relations and Marketing on the 98.1 KDD Radiothon and, before that, the Children’s Miracle Network telethon. These events take time to plan and set up and allowed me to contribute to events that showcase Children’s at its best. I’ve been blessed to work with, meet and, now, say goodbye to many wonderful people here.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
I’ve watched many miracles performed at Children’s. I can’t think of anything more important than caring for kids. They’re our future!
What’s your most memorable and/or happiest moment at Akron Children’s?
The happiest is meeting my wife, Jennifer, here. A memorable moment was walking into a patient’s room and seeing a child in his bed, with his parents standing and talking to Bill Considine (Akron Children’s CEO Emeritus). With them, was Petie the Pony and a clown, who was making balloon animals. It was a surreal atmosphere!
With so many little children here, did someone or something especially touch your heart?
Once, during a bad day, I walked by pediatric occupational therapy and saw a little girl take her first steps. She smiled from ear to ear. It put everything in perspective for me.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
This place is magical. Please help share this by always focusing on the kids to ensure they and their parents and families have a good experience.
What couldn’t you live without?
Air and water!
What music do you like? Where and how do you listen to it?
I love all music. I have a studio at home and, whenever possible, spend time there. I also like working on numerous compositions. In retirement, I’ll work on my music and do recordings with my friend, Mark Grace, at Rogue’s Hollow Recordings.