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Someone you should know: Ryan Callahan

Ryan Callahan

Grounds Superintendent Ryan Callahan

Grounds Superintendent Ryan Callahan always knew Elgin Community College would be an option after high school. An Elgin native, he started classes at ECC in 1989. 

The path to his current job at the college took a bit more time. Prior to becoming a grounds superintendent seven years ago, Callahan was a middle school teacher and a truant officer.

We caught up with Callahan and asked him 10 questions about himself and ECC. Here's what he said.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I oversee the grounds here on our campus. This would include the maintenance of all grassy areas, mulch planting beds, parking lots, and sidewalks. The grounds crew repairs areas damaged by construction, renovations, or fixes the spots damaged by the winter season. I also deal with campus signage, classroom/office furniture needs, and donations.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

It has been exciting to see all the landscaping plans around the new buildings come to fruition since I became the Superintendent of Grounds. I was on the committee to develop the Green Space located by the library. I always felt that our campus needed a central space for student/public events. This is a large and safe place for students to hold outside events. I hope there will be outside music/concert events.  

Where is your favorite place at ECC and why?

I have always enjoyed the lakeside aspect of the campus. I am well aware that it is in poor shape at this time, but I think everyone will be pleased with the end result after it is renovated. The project started during our spring break. I also like the fountains when they light up the lake at night. They definitely add to the overall view from Spartan Drive.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

I would do two things. I would probably make it a four-day work week all year long. Who does not like three-day weekends? The not-so nice thing I would do is require everyone to come in to assist with the snow removal. It is not always fun to come in for plowing and shoveling on a really cold night.

What was your first job out of college?

My first full-time job out of college was a truant officer for Kane County. I would stop in various schools in U-46 and District 300 and get print outs of their attendance reports. For the worst offenders, I would do home visits to see why the student was not in school. Then, I would assist the school and the family to make a plan to change the truancy issue. After that position, I taught middle school for 12 years in Crystal Lake.

What was your favorite class in school?

In high school, my favorite class was algebra. My teacher presented the different formulas like they were number puzzles. I was also an elementary education major at Illinois State University.  I really liked all the curriculum development classes. We would learn about different teaching strategies, and then we would try our own lessons at the lab schools.

What's something about your job that others should know?

Snow does not start and stop when we want it to. I have to get up during the night to see what is happening with the weather. Then, I have to make a plan to get the campus open before the morning classes begin. It can be 24/7 during the snow season.  

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Jack Black. I would hope it would be funny!

What's on your “bucket list?”

I would like to learn how to play and understand the guitar. I believe I could write a book of some sort. Everyone has a story in them. I plan to travel to Ireland one day.  

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

I basically grew up here.  I started classes in the fall of 1989 and started working here in the spring of 1990.  I have been a student, part-time employee, full-time employee, instructor of ABE at the old Fountain Square Campus, and an administrator in the Operations and Maintenance Department.



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