|On Target (October 1995)|
Don and Estelle Seeley Share a Combined 36 Years at CEBAF Site
CEBAF has come a long way in its short 11 year history. Very few staff members can say that they were here when the facility consisted of a couple of buildings on a large plot of land. Don and Estelle Seeley are members of this special group who have been here from the beginning.
On November 1st, CEBAF celebrated the service of employees like the Seeleys who have achieved 10 years of service in a ceremony honoring their accomplishments. Nine people have attained 10 years as of 1994, while 22 have reached that mark in the current year. The facility also honored the 89 staffers who have completed five years of service.
Don began working as a state employee in 1974. He was assigned as a maintenance supervisor to the Virginia Associated Research Campus of the College of William and Mary, which is the namesake for the VARC building. In those days, VARC was used as a cancer research laboratory as well as classroom space for William and Mary night classes. "Back then half of the offices that are currently in VARC were open bays populated by mice and rats that were used in experiments," Don says.
Don is currently responsible for completing work orders, which can be as simple as hanging pictures in CEBAF Center, to overseeing the quality of work of contractors. He has seen those responsibilities expand from maintaining one building to over a hundred buildings and structures that now cover the site.
Along the way, Don managed to meet his wife, Estelle. She began at VARC in 1980 working for Don as a custodial worker. She has since worked her way up through shipping and receiving to her current position in the Procurement Department. As a buyer, Estelle is responsible for placing supply orders totaling $25,000 or less and making sure the order is filled in a timely manner.
Estelle credits the many opportunities present at CEBAF with aiding her in achieving her level of success. "CEBAF has opened doors which might have been closed to me in other companies. I have worked for some great supervisors who recognized my potential," she says.
The Seeleys believe in putting their private lives behind them while on the job. They do, however, have a standing date for lunch everyday, where they usually play a game of cards with a few of their co-workers.
The ethic of teamwork that prevails throughout the laboratory is what Don enjoys most of all about CEBAF. "From the very beginning, I told Hermann (Grunder,CEBAF Director) that CEBAF would make it, because everyone was willing to work together. There were times when Hermann would come out and help shovel snow off of the walkways," says Don. He also remembers one instance in which Jim Coleman, Associate Director of Administration, came in on a Saturday to help bail water out of VARC after a water pipe had burst. "Things like that showed everyone that the big guys truly cared about getting CEBAF off of the ground," says Don.
Estelle shares her husband's enthusiasm for the facility's staff. "It's been exciting to witness CEBAF become what it has and to work with the people that have contributed to its success," she says. "Don and I believe in always putting our best foot forward in order to keep the spirit of teamwork alive."
Although Don and Estelle enjoy working at CEBAF, they both look forward to the day when they can retire. Don has grand plans of going out fishing everyday in his boat. Estelle, on the other hand, says she does not have any definite plans for her retirement, but is assured that she will be able to find plenty to do. Don says if he has his way, Estelle might end up cleaning the day's catch.
- David Ellis, Director's Office Intern