1984-1994 United States Postal Service
Initially I took the test for and was hired as a Building Equipment Mechanic (BEM), which is really an HVAC Mechanic. They put me to work right away on the large tonnage HVAC systems in the big Postal Facilities in Manhattan. Systems were as small as 1000 tons with 2 Absorption Chillers and 32 air handlers, on up to 6000 Tons with 4 Centrifical Chillers and 86 air handlers. To move up, after 1 year of service, I took the test to become an Electronics Technician. I got that job right away. I was then sent to school for 12 weeks to learn how to fix the most advanced machine they had in the system at the time. This was the Pitney Bowes Multiline OCR letter sorter. This machine used an array of 47 parallel asynchronous processors to read the addrees off an envelope and then decode it as to what the true zip code is and then spray a barcode on the front corner of the envelope for use in secondary sorting further on down in the system by other machines. After the barcode was sprayed on, the envelope was zipped down a long channel sorter and sorted to any one of 60 computer targeted collection bins. These machines cost over $800,000.00 each and were almost 100 feet long. I did very well in this job and was able to push the machine sppeds from 28,000 correctly sorted pieces per hour on up to 37,000 correctly sorted pieces per hour. (I still have the records of this achievement)
However my days as an ET only lasted a few months. I was wanted back on the Building Maintenance side of the house. So here is what they did: A few months later I was promoted to Supervisor of BEMs, then soon after I was detailed to the position of Acting Manager of Plant Maintenance for both Grand Central and FDR Stations simultaneously. At the time these were the 2 biggest Letter Carrier Stations in the USA with more than 500 Letter Carriers working out of each building. In this position I managed the maintenance of both the machinery and the buildings. Along they way they sent me to 47 training courses. (See my Education section) I was really enjoying my work here for a time. Unfortunately the Post Office was reorganizing every time after the President appointed a new Postmaster General. It got to the point where I did not know what location I would be working in tomorrow, on what shift, with what days off, etc. Survival on the job also became a game of "Its who you know and not what you know." I became very disenchanted and unhappy with being stuck in an unstable environment fraught with internal politics. I decided to leave for a job that guaranteed me High Tech HVAC work that was close to home.