Water Sports Superstar

Mike Leezer loves being out on the open water

Mike Leezer water skis at North Carolina's Hyco Lake last spring. Leezer said he's enjoyed water sports since he was a child. Photo courtesy of Mike Leezer.
Mike Leezer water skis at North Carolina's Hyco Lake last spring. Leezer said he's enjoyed water sports since he was a child. Photo courtesy of Mike Leezer.

Name: Mike LeezerPosition: Construction coordinator, Facilities ManagementYears at Duke: 11

What I do at Duke:  As construction coordinator, I work between contractors and Duke to make sure construction runs smoothly. I look at underground utilities to make sure that they're put in according to specifications Duke requires and make sure everything is put in the ground the way it's supposed to be. I usually take photos and keep records of everything.

If I had $5 million, I would: I'd want to give away the first million, probably to my church. I'd also want to make sure my family is taken care of financially and donate some. I'd want to continue working part-time as a veterinary technician with large animals. I worked for 20 years with horses and cattle.

My first ever job: Detasseling corn in Burlington, Iowa, where I grew up. I was 14-years old when a local company asked for volunteers. I got my parents to sign me up for it and I did it for two summers.

My dream job: Probably a horse veterinarian. I used to work with a veterinarian and really enjoyed working around the horses. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to diagnose their medical needs.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Animals are my love, so anything pertaining to animals would be good.

The best advice I ever received: Take a lemon and make lemonade. It's the best advice I can give anybody. Today, there can be so many disappointments. The best thing you can do is to keep going and keep the faith. It's the way I like to look at life.

What I love about Duke: The construction and architecture of buildings. It's incredible working for a place that cares so much about its buildings and structures. I go into buildings for work all the time and the architecture from the 1920s is still amazing - the basements are still dry. On the other hand, you go into a modern building and you often have water problems. Back then, people knew how to build. The craftsmanship is wonderful.

When I'm not at work, I like: Boating on Kerr Lake in Virginia or locally at Hyco Lake in Person County. I'm a water sports person, and I love to ski. I learned water skiing on the Mississippi River. I started skiing when I was 6 years old.

If I could have one superpower, it would be: The ability to cure all diseases so no one would ever have to suffer.

Something most people don't know about me: I once water skied for 23 consecutive miles on the Mississippi River when I was 12 years old. I did it on one ski, too. It was just for fun and something nobody had ever done. I went from Fort Madison, Iowa to Burlington, Iowa. I would've gone farther but couldn't because of the water lock.