This archived article was written by: KC Smurthwaite
In a building that nobody knows and in an office that really doesn’t seem like it’s suitable sits John Zmerzlikar. Everyday for the past 26 years, he has come to work and gone home.
Not a lot of people on campus know Zmerlikar, but those who have the privilege, speak highly of him. You might have seen him without knowing it. The Eastern baseball hat and driving around in the mule around mid-day sometimes gives it away. His office is in the bus garage which is located in the purchasing/police building between the student center and Aaron Jones. It doesn’t really look like the typical setting for an office, but with John Zmerzlikar, as long as there is a computer and a place to write notes he is happy.
Zmerzlikar was born in Price and has never left. “ All my friends are here, why would I leave?” commented Zmerzlikar. He is a graduate from CEU and has done numerous jobs around campus during his time at the college. Some of the jobs he has done include putting in the first automated sprinkler system, help build and construct Aaron Jones, Tucker and Burtenshaw residence halls. Zmerzlikar has seen the college grow over the years and has no plans to leave. “ I love this place, I love the people I work with,” stated Zmerzlikar. He is the motor pool coordinator which requires him to be available at all times to help faculty and staff members utilize the state vehicles. During the day when the motor pool isn’t keeping him busy, he is found doing the purchasing and receiving for the college. John also does the schools inventory, surplus and reports to the state on the vehicles.
Because of his job, Zmerzlikar arrives on campus about 6:30 a.m. to get cars ready to be taken out that day. When asked about his work schedule John replied,“ it’s my favorite part of my job, I get here early and I am home by afternoon.” John is outspoken, but he gets his work done, always. He believes work is “ time to get something done, and right.” Although most people don’t recognize John, that is the way he wants it. Zmerzlikar is always looking to help others. Head baseball coach Scott Madsen, who works with John in the motor pool, commented “he by far has the biggest heart on campus.” Besides the last name there is nothing intimidating about Zmerzlikar. He is Austrian, and for the most part “ people pronounce it correctly.”
When he retires, what he wants people to remember about him is, “that maybe I made a difference, or at least I hope I did.” He works everyday, and he works hard. He could be the campus quiet work warrior that would do anything for this school. Every answer from him was based around his love for this school and the people. No statues will ever be made of Zmerzlikar, most people will never even meet him, but that’s the way he wants it. When he does retire, the people who knew him will say “he definitely made a difference.”