Reminiscing with Mister Fix-It

From left are Alexander MacNamara, associate vice president of facilities and operations, Milton Davis, John Tallon, and Jessica Brumley, vice president of facilities operations and planning.
By Brittney Bomnin

From left are Alexander MacNamara, associate vice president of facilities and operations, Milton Davis, John Tallon, and Jessica Brumley, vice president of facilities operations and planning.

Reminiscing with Mister Fix-It

By Brittney Bomnin
Maintenance mechanic Milton Davis has kept UM housing humming for decades.

Milton Davis, maintenance mechanic in the Department of Facilities Management, does “a little bit of everything” at the University of Miami. On any given day, you might find him fixing a broken door, hanging frames on the wall, or adjusting ceiling tiles at Eaton Residential College on the Coral Gables campus.

In 1973, Davis joined the ’Canes family as a carpenter before working his way into his current role as a maintenance mechanic. Originally from Georgia, he moved to Miami after graduating from high school and has kept a low profile throughout his 45-year career at UM.

“There are very few people who can demonstrate such levels of patience and fulfillment in their professional role within an organization and sustain employment at one place for over four decades,” said John Tallon, senior manager at UM Facilities and Operations. “Milton’s longevity here shows a resilience and dedication that is not often found.”

Over the last 20 years, Davis serviced many of UM’s student residential buildings, and worked behind the scenes to ensure the safety and comfort of residents during their time on campus.

“I’ve seen four presidents and each of them accomplished great things. Each one of them moved the University forward,” said Davis as he recalled the changes on campus over the years. “I’ve seen a lot of buildings go up.”

For Davis and his colleagues each new building means new facilities to maintain. On the Gables campus, the Facilities and Operations team is responsible for the grounds and infrastructure of 140 buildings, 17 of which are part of UM’s Housing and Residential Life division and offer on-campus housing to about 4,300 undergraduate students.

“Milton has executed his work with a high level of professionalism and residents have shown him a great deal of admiration for his kind character and continuous efforts,” said Tallon, who has been Davis’ supervisor for the last three years.

Davis’ strong work ethic has proven itself over the years. In addition to his job at UM, he also spent 25 years at Miami-Dade College as an overnight custodian, a job he retired from in 2009. “It was tough, but God has been good to me. Most important part is that I’m healthy,” he said.

This year, Davis closed another chapter of his life and is ready to embark on the nextretirement.

Although Davis’ official last day at the U was May 11, he certainly isn’t saying goodbye. Over the years, his three children grew up on the Gables campus and today each of his seven grandchildren know how to properly throw up the U. His daughter was able to take advantage of the tuition remission benefit offered to full-time employees and graduated in 2004 from the School of Nursing and Health Studies. “The tuition remission was a big help,” noted Davis as he fondly reminisced about his time as an employee.

“I enjoyed my time here, cheering on players during the football season,” he said with a smile. “I enjoyed the national championships and all the years that they almost made it.”

Many of Davis’ work pals have already retired and although he is looking forward to the change of pace, he doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. When asked what’s next, he was quick to talk about the projects he has lined up. “I have a lot of work to do around the house,” he laughed. “It will keep me going for the next year or two.”