Brock machine shop supervisor calls it a career

Steven Crumb is ready for the next chapter.

Sporting a new watch, engraved with a personal message from his Technical Services family, Crumb reflects on the nearly 16 years he spent in Brock’s machine shop as his end of April retirement begins to sink in.

A general machinist by trade, the machine shop supervisor has long been passionate about his craft. In high school, he took every available skilled trades course, majoring in machine shop. An apprenticeship introduced him to the industry where he worked for years before landing his dream job at Brock.

Brock machine shop supervisor Steven Crumb holds up the Brock pin he received during a retirement celebration in his honour Wednesday, April 25.

Crumb joined the machine shop as a mechanical instrument technician in 2002 and immediately noticed a difference from his previous job.

“It’s a big shift coming from industry to Brock. Pretty much everything stands out,” he said. “There are so many great people here. There’s always something different and interesting going on.”

In his role, Crumb helped design and service a variety of teaching and research equipment for Brock’s Faculty of Mathematics and Science. He has worked closely with faculty and students, building customized tools to facilitate their research.

“You never really know what you’re going to be doing from one day to the next,” he said. “People come in with their ideas and sometimes the needs change during the conversation. The job requires a lot of multitasking, to say the least.”

His skill, dedication and ability to meet the unique needs of both faculty and students helped him earn his current supervisory position. Along with training staff, placing orders and overseeing the welding and metal-bending, woodworking and paint shops, Crumb still found the time to contribute to a variety of projects, both large and small.

“My favourite part about working here is the people. Working with professors and students is great,” he said. “We’ve had a number of apprentices at the shop and watching them grow and learn things is a pretty incredible thing.”

The large gathering of colleagues, family and friends on Wednesday, April 25 — a few days before his official last day on Monday, April 30 — was proof that many not only enjoyed working with him, but will miss his keen eye and artistry.

“Steve is a very particular and detail-oriented type of person with a high quality of workmanship,” said mechanical instrument technician Stephen Renda, who has worked with Crumb for more than 14 years.

“He has always stressed that when someone comes to pick up their work, they should be impressed. That quality shows in all aspects of his career at Brock. He has always been very supportive of the work we do, making sure that everyone who uses our shop is well taken care of,” said Renda. “He knows the value we bring to the University, especially to the sciences. Under his supervision, the machine shop has always had excellent reviews and feedback. He’s been a great influence.”

Crumb said he has mixed feelings about the next chapter in his life.

“I’m pretty excited and a little bit apprehensive,” he said. “It’s a whole new thing in life. I’m used to coming in and interacting with 20 to 30 people in one day. This will be different.”

Not one to sit still for long, Crumb predicts his retirement will include passion projects, working with his hands and building things.

Plans to add a second storey to his home on the lake are already underway. Fishing and spending time with his two grandchildren, three children and wife, are also part of his plan.

“My wife and I planned to retire young and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Now, it’s time to relax and enjoy.”

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