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A Lifetime Of Serving Others
Durham, NC -
Name: Mike Snyder
Position: Safety manager, Facilities Management
Years at Duke: 14
What I do at Duke is: As the safety manager for the Facilities Management Department, I oversee safety for about 500 employees from a variety of departments like maintenance, utilities and engineering, university housekeeping, grounds, sanitation, recycling and all our support personnel.
If I had $5 million, I would: My wife and I volunteer a lot, so I can see us donating to various causes and charities. We'd probably provide some of the money to our church, as well as the Wounded Warrior Project and Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center. I'd also want to invest some money, pay off our kids' home and educational expenses and travel.
My first ever job was: I delivered newspapers for about three years. I started when I was 12 years old in my hometown of Mantua, New Jersey . I had about 100 customers and I'd deliver papers on my bike.
My dream job is: Either a sports broadcaster or professional baseball player. Broadcasting is something I've always been interested in - I did it a little in high school. I love sports, both armchair and participating.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: I can always talk about my family. As we grow older in life, we realize how important family is to us. In the end, it's family that's there for us. I'm also a big baseball fan and growing up in southern New Jersey means I'm an avid Phillies fan. Since my wife and I made our home here in North Carolina, we've also become avid Carolina Hurricanes fans where we've been volunteering for over 11 years.
The best advice I ever received was: Pursue your dreams, because in life things never attempted go unrealized. It's like in hockey - if you don't shoot the puck you can't score a goal. I picked that up through my development in the Marine Corps, where I spent over 26 years before coming to Facilities Management.
What I love about Duke is: Like most organizations, you find the friendships created with people helps define your happiness. I think this holds true anywhere and Duke is no exception. There are some great people here.
When I'm not at work, I like to: The last few years I've been involved locally with the Triangle Flight of Honor, which flies World War II veterans from RDU to Washington, D.C. I went on my first flight in April 2011 with three veterans and recently had the opportunity to go on my fourth trip. It's the most humbling and honored experienced I've ever had in my life. It's a history lesson you can't learn in the classroom or from watching on TV. It's amazing to be there with these men as they share their stories.
If I could have one superpower, it would be: To realize, understand and communicate what would be required to keep peace in the world. War and death aren't anything pleasant to have anywhere or anytime.
Something most people don't know about me is: When I was stationed in Cairo, Egypt in the mid-1970s, I got to climb the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza . It was about 480 feet high. It was so exhilarating, especially to look back now and think that I was standing on the top of history and now people aren't allowed to climb the pyramids any longer.
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