When Tim Tomayko, facilities project manager, graduated from high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps to experience the world. Tim traveled to South America, gaining life and leadership skills. Later, Tim understood what being a Marine really meant to him. He wanted to make his dad, a former Marine, proud.
“Dad didn’t have an enemy in the world,” Tim said. “He worked as an Akron-area school bus driver. People still come up to me to tell me stories about riding his bus. Dad always tried to make a difference where and when he could.”
That lesson stuck with Tim, who has spent 42 years maintaining Children’s extensive infrastructure and systems and doing what he could to meet the needs of employees, patients and their families and visitors. On July 10, Tim retires and plans to be a homebody, enjoying his family and grandchildren.
What brought you to Children’s?
After my discharge from the Marines, I attended The University of Akron. My uncle worked at Children’s and told me about a part-time job in environmental services working as a housekeeper. I applied and began working the next day.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
I worked evenings in environmental services my first year, then transferred to maintenance and worked days. At first, I worked in the tool crib, a large, secure area where Children’s housed its tools. Over the next 30-plus years, my responsibilities grew. I was fortunate to work for and be mentored by Jim Madden, retired director of facilities maintenance, especially during a time when Children’s was expanding rapidly. I eventually became the engineering manager before moving into a project manager position. My current role has allowed me to use the many relationships I’ve developed over the years inside and outside of Children’s to manage and oversee facilities projects that enhance our operational efficiency. For example, last fall I worked with Ohio Edison and outside contractors on a large-scale project to expand our electrical substation, which required coordination with many of our medical departments and programs.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
I’d like to believe that people knew they could depend on me to get things done when they called on me.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
Helping employees by taking care of their problems quickly, often with the help of my employees and/or our contractors. Two instances come to mind. During the 2003 blackout that shut down power to 8 states and part of Canada, we lost power. The NICU didn’t have a way to keep babies cool. We sent a maintenance employee to purchase all the fans he could. As we assembled the fans, Bill Considine (Akron Children’s CEO Emeritus) was there with us putting them together. That’s our culture here. Another time, the centralized core lab conducted a kaizen, analyzing ways it could improve its flow and productivity. They called me on a Saturday afternoon for reconstruction help, and using one of our contractors, the modification was ready the next day.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
Early in my career, I received a call from someone in the home care group about a patient who lived at home and was in her last days. There was a heatwave going on and the patient’s house didn’t have air conditioning. I was asked if I could do anything to help make the patient more comfortable. I sent two employees to purchase a portable window air-conditioning unit and install it in her bedroom. To this day I still feel a sense of gratitude that I was able to help and bring comfort to that patient. That was my best day.
With so many little children here, did someone or something especially touch your heart?
Not specifically, but working here, I thank the Lord for the blessings that I, my wife and our children and grandchildren have received.
What do you look forward to the most in retirement?
The freedom of time.
What couldn’t you live without?
My wife, Kathy, who is my best friend. I can’t imagine my life without her or my family. (Kathy Tomayko is also a longtime Akron Children’s employee and currently works in Quality Services.)
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
There are many long-term employees at Children’s. That’s not by accident. Children’s has been a great place to work. Embrace our culture, and remember, patient care always comes first.
Interested in working at Akron Children’s? Check our career site for current opportunities.