Get to Know The Maintenance Staff
Remer Halbrooks’ first name is a palindrome and taken from the doctor who delivered him. He is the youngest of four brothers, all of whom attended North Cobb High School, where they participated in football and track. Beginning in 1976, Remer and his brothers started working for the construction company that built the Ritz Carlton hotel and the top floor of Lenox Mall. After joining the Pace staff, Remer said he missed his brothers at first, but stressed that “the guys in the maintenance staff…all love each other.” He has been married for 30 years and has two boys, Jesse (19) and Heath (25), who work in construction and electrical work. Remer said that he loves Pace and its students because it is a very inclusive environment, at least compared to the “riots at North Cobb in the ’70s!” In his free time, Remer used to play golf and draw, but now is just “an easy going guy” who relaxes with family and enjoys Elvis music. In fact, his whole family was so dedicated to Elvis from the beginning that, in 1968, he and nine family members piled into their two-door Falcon and drove up to Memphis, Tenn. to visit Graceland.
Calvin Couch was born in Ohio and, in his early years, he joined the U.S. Air Force, planning to go to tech school afterwards. He intended to work in the Air Force’s Mississippi security branch during the Vietnam War but fell sick toward the end of boot camp and was forced to drop out. He lived in Pennsylvania as well as Detroit during his time in the Air Force, but after leaving the service, he moved to Madison, Wis. in order to finish earning finance credits at the University of Wisconsin. He soon left the university, however, to take a job and support his family. Calvin’s first wife grew up in Akron, Ohio and knows basketball star LeBron James’ aunt. Calvin’s kids are now 40, 38, and 32; the first is a U.S. Army retiree, the second a commercial truck driver, and the third a maintenance worker like his father. Although in his youth he was an avid baseball player, Calvin now enjoys watching sports instead, specifically the Atlanta Falcons, Braves, and Hawks as well as the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
By Jeff Handler, Staff Writer ’13
Matt and Wes Fortier
Matt and Wes Fortier have done everything together since they were born. They grew up in Charlottesville, Va. with their brother Chris and younger sister Caitlin, attending high school at Miller School, where they participated in the same activities: basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. Both of them were even the student body president their respective senior years.
After high school, Matt and Wes joined the same construction crew and volunteered together with Young Life before they started working at Pace with their father, Dave Fortier, Director of Facilities for Pace. Now they work together in plant operations and field maintenance, and Matt coaches JV boys basketball and lacrosse. Matt’s favorite part of the job is that he is able to “coach and work, but still hang out with high school students at the same time.” Their job starts at 7 a.m., and usually entails working at the Riverview football complex, where they do everything from minor fix-ups to shoveling snow during the notorious “Snow Week” last January. The two are vital to some of the major events at Pace, such as the Fall Fair, football games, and senior graduation in May.
Wes is a long-time collector of Disney movies, “especially the classics,” he said, citing Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty. Matt admitted to watching the Disney movies with his brother, saying “Prince Phillip [from Sleeping Beauty] is my hero.” Both brothers got married this year, Wes in May and Matt in September.
By Suzanne Monyak, Staff Writer ’13
If you see Charles Smith walking around school, you will be sure to receive a smile from him. Charles has been at Pace since 1992, and he has never lost his cheerful attitude. When asked about his high school experience, Charles said, “I was a nerd; I was an athlete; I did everything.” Charles is talented when it comes to music. He can play guitar, bass, and harmonica, and enjoys writing songs. Charles is the official mailman around campus, although he does other odd jobs wherever he’s needed. Charles lives with his wife, Christa, and enjoys spending time with his three children and 12 grandchildren.
Kevin Johnson grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., with 10 brothers and sisters. In high school he played many sports, including tennis, soccer, football, and basketball. Even when he was still in high school, Kevin knew that he wanted to work with children; he told his teacher that he wanted to be a social worker when he grew up. After college he worked as a social worker for nine years. Kevin has been working at Pace for one year, and holds the title Security Manager and Director of Transportation. A typical day for him includes supervising carpool, doing security checks around school, and going over transportation schedules. Kevin said that he loves working at Pace, saying that Pace is full of “respect, joy, confidence, and love.” Kevin has a daughter, Keturah, and a son, Kevin, who attends Pace and is a freshman.
By Natalie Camrud, Staff Writer ’13