Motivating others is a talent

Having a co-worker who motivates you, has a positive attitude, and embodies the district’s Core 4 tenet of Friendly, leads to a work environment that is welcoming and positive. That’s how team members describe Ronnie “Joey” Elms, maintenance specialist and safety coordinator in the Maintenance and Facility Services Department’s Northeast Quadrant. 

“Joey is always keeping everybody in good spirits, but he’s also keeping everybody motivated,” said Brett Parmer, maintenance specialist. “He makes the job fun, and he does a lot of coordinating with the jobs and getting the people lined out where they need to be. You never hear any complaining from him and he’s just an all around good guy.” 

Parmer, who is the assistant safety coordinator, works closely with Elms. In fact, earlier this year, Elms was honored with the 2023 Golden Eagle Award at the Risk Management safety coordinator meeting. The award recognized outstanding commitment to safety within the safety coordinator program. Elms credited the hard work of his team and thanked the NE quad—that includes 60 to 70 people—for prioritizing safety. 

“If there are any obstacles or problems in their way, they let me know so I can address it with the right department,” Elms said. For example, if a team member sees a fire extinguisher that’s broken, Elms will report it and make sure that it’s replaced immediately. 

According to Elms, the district has safety standards that he shares with his team so they know how to apply them to their work. 

Besides doing his safety coordinator role, Elms, who is a craftsman, works on projects with his team that may include carpentry and construction work on campuses and facilities. This can entail repairing a wall, laying out floor or renovating an auditorium or an office. 

Elms and his team members always stay busy. Part of his role includes being an expediter, which includes keeping tabs of all the inventory that’s in the shop in the NE quad. This also includes duties such as going out to a location and figuring out how much material and personnel will be needed for the job, as well as how many days should be scheduled to complete it. 

“You have something new everyday,” Elms said. “We might work on a floor for two or three days and then do a wall repair for a few days. So there’s always something different that goes on, but because of the camaraderie, we have a great time working together.” 

Elms describes himself as the spokesperson for his team as well as the motivator, and even the jokester, who keeps things going, making the work day a productive one. Being a leader is something he enjoys, he said. 

Elms believes in treating everyone with dignity and respect, he said. He lives by a bible verse: “I can do to all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and credits his faith as his motivation to uplift others in any space he is in. 

In his spare time at his East Texas home, from where he commutes on a daily basis, he stays active enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing, beautifying his yard, golfing, and spending time with his children. 

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