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news News Monday, June 17, 2019 Monday, June 17, 2019 3:47 PM - Monday, June 17, 2019 3:47 PM

Tampa hospital names plant facilities worker its 2019 Employee of the Year

Ervin Harris has made sure everything runs smoothly for the past six years

Tampa hospital names plant facilities worker its 2019 Employee of the Year

By Mary Schille

Ervin Harris considers invisibility at work a good thing. It means that everything at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa is running smoothly. “If no one knows our team is at our hospital, that means essential services such as plumbing, electricity and air conditioning are working properly,” said Mr. Harris, who has spent the past six years working in the hospital’s plant facilities department. “That means we did our job, and that is satisfying,”

However, Mr. Harris was anything but unseen when leaders announced him as Employee of the Year for 2019. “Ervin is one of the most reliable people we have and truly the best team player that we have,” said Ken Wood, director of plant facilities, and Mr. Harris’ supervisor. “When it comes to core values, no one is better than Ervin.”

An anonymous employee cited Mr. Harris’s humble and teachable attitude when nominating him for the award. “Ervin quietly fixes others’ mistakes without gloating, shares his knowledge without being asked, compliments others’ work respectfully and appropriately, and perhaps most importantly takes the time to learn new ways after saying those all-important words, ‘I don’t know,’” the employee wrote.

Mr. Harris began learning about maintenance at an early age when he began working with his uncle, who he said taught him “everything” about carpentry and plumbing. When Mr. Harris got older, he received formal training from Erwin Tech. “I took several maintenance courses, including carpentry, plumbing and electrical work,” he said. “My training at Erwin Tech prepared me for my work every day at the Tampa Shriners Hospital.”

Mr. Harris and his team ensure that everything in the hospital is working properly. That includes the climate control system. “Parents can be stressed, so if I can come in and make them more comfortable through something like fixing the air conditioning, I am so happy about that,” Mr. Harris said.

Communication is critical, especially for complex repairs that might last for multiple shifts. “As a team we share a lot of information with each other and work on each project until it is complete,” Mr. Harris said.

Mr. Harris’s thoughtfulness also extends to his colleagues across the hospital. One evening, Mr. Harris replaced light bulbs in a manager’s office. After replacing the light bulbs, Mr. Harris noticed a child’s painting sitting on the employee’s desk. When the manager came in the next day, the painting was hanging on the wall. The manager explained that it was a gift from her son and thanked Mr. Harris for his thoughtfulness.

“This is a great place to work,” Mr. Harris said. “I would tell everybody to come here. If they have a positive attitude, they will love it.”