By Ian Ferguson
After 22 years of service to the Blaine school district, facilities supervisor Jim Kenoyer retired at the end of October, and although he’s looking forward to having more free time, he won’t be sitting around.
“I’ll have a little more time for skiing, hiking, climbing, travel and grandkids,” Kenoyer said.
A lifelong outdoorsman, Kenoyer said he’s always tried to strike a balance between an enjoyable, productive career and the free time to be able to explore the great outdoors.
Working for the school district, with its summer and winter vacations, allowed him to do just that. Over the years he’s hiked and skied every volcano from Mt. Baker to California’s Mt. Shasta, and dozens of other major peaks besides.
Kenoyer said ample vacation time was part of what first attracted him to the job when he started in 1992. He already had a solid job as the maintenance manager at Semiahmoo Resort, but a friend urged him to apply for a job opening at the school district. Looking back, Kenoyer said he’s happy he made the switch.
“It worked out really well for me and my family,” Kenoyer said. “My daughter came up through the Blaine schools, and now my grandkids are starting to go to school here. It’s been great to be a part of this community.”
Kenoyer started out with the official title of “electrician specialist,” but his role extended to many other aspects of maintaining the buildings in the school district. He worked his way up to facilities supervisor, where he manages everything from keeping the lights on to figuring out the logistics of new construction.
“We offer district-wide support,” Kenoyer said. “We handle maintenance at the grounds and custodial for all the buildings. We also handle facility scheduling and events for outside groups – everything from athletic events to girl scouts.”
Kenoyer said he takes pride in keeping the infrastructure of the Blaine school district running smoothly.
“It’s very rewarding that every day 2,000 kids and 240 staff show up for the school day, and things work. That’s the bread and butter of what we do,” Kenoyer said.
Managing events for the school district put Kenoyer in contact with people throughout the Blaine, Birch Bay and Point Roberts communities.
“Through all the community events, I’ve had a chance to get to know a lot of people in the district and beyond. The relationships I’ve made with people have been as rewarding as anything else,” Kenoyer said.
Kenoyer has played an integral role in construction, leading such projects as the new science building in 2013 and planning for future construction.
“The construction management aspect has been interesting and enjoyable,” he said.
Kenoyer said he and his wife Wendy plan to stay in Blaine for the foreseeable future.
“We have no plans to move to Arizona or anything like that, unless I get sick of being cold and wet,” he said, laughing. “We will continue to be involved in the school district through our grandson who is in first grade and our 18-month-old granddaughter who will be entering preschool soon.”
Kenoyer said he’s confident the district is in good hands without him. Allen Palmer will be taking over Kenoyer’s position.
“I’ve been working with him for the last two months,” Kenoyer said. “He’s a good fit for the job.”
Although he’ll miss his job, Kenoyer said he’s ready for retirement. Look for him on the slopes of Mt. Baker this winter – he’s planning on getting a season pass.