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  • Jennifer Daniels
    Credit: Lance Hayashida/Caltech Office of Strategic Communications
05/29/2014 13:33:50

Facilities Assistant Honored for 45 Years of Service

The 59th Annual Staff Service Awards will be presented in Beckman Auditorium on Monday, June 2, at 10 a.m. During the ceremony, more than 250 staff members whose service ranges from 10 to 50 years will be honored. A full list of awardees can be found here.

This week we are featuring Caltech staff members who will be recognized for 40 or 45 years of service to the Institute.

Jennifer Daniels has seen her share of changes at Caltech in the past 45 years. Daniels, who transferred to Caltech from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in February 1971, remembers a time when San Pasqual Avenue cut almost all the way through campus, Caltech classrooms were just welcoming some of their first female students, and historic Throop Hall stood in the middle of campus—at least for a little while.

"My first day at Caltech was the day before the big San Fernando earthquake," recalls Daniels, who is now an administrative assistant in Facilities at Caltech. The magnitude 6.6 earthquake damaged several of the oldest buildings on campus, including Throop Hall; cracks in its concrete led to the building's eventual demolition. "So I came to campus when Throop Hall was standing, and I witnessed the whole process of them tearing it down," she says.

In spite of those dramatic first few days on the job, Daniels decided to stick it out at Caltech. On June 2, she will be honored for her 45 years of service at the annual staff service awards.

A Pasadena native, Daniels began her career as a part-time assistant in environmental quality at JPL in June 1969. "It was a great job, and as part of the job, I got to attend and type up the notes for lectures about all the work that was being done on the moon at that time. It was very exciting," she says.

Her work at JPL was interesting, but Daniels, who was also studying business law at Pasadena City College, thought she'd probably move on after she received her degree. That move turned out to be a short one—to a full-time position in General Accounting Services at Caltech. After nearly a decade, she accepted a position in Facilities—where she's spent the last 35 years.

Today, Daniels is responsible for utilities accounting within the maintenance management and energy services department of Facilities. As part of Caltech's commitment to sustainability, she gathers utilities bills for reports that track energy use on campus. In addition, she also organizes the payroll and time-keeping for the staff in her department.

"I've worked with Jennifer off and on for about 22 years, and she's an essential member of our team and a valued member of our family here," says Dan Buckelew, supervisor at the Central Utility Plant where Daniels works. "She's a great employee, she's very diligent at her work, and she's well liked by everyone here."

Daniels says she has many happy memories involving Caltech—including her niece's beautiful wedding photos on campus, and the time that a group of Caltech seniors put a car on top of her building as part of an elaborate Ditch Day prank.

Although many of her longtime colleagues have now retired, Daniels says she's not ready to make any plans. "I know I want to work longer. When things start getting to be more than I can handle, then I'll probably want to retire," she says. "But I don't plan to retire soon."

Written by Jessica Stoller-Conrad