Josh Ferry grew up thinking he wanted to be a cop, but around the age of 16, he fell into a landscaping position. That in turn, led him to a career with District #7 that began 10 years ago this May as a grounds foreman. In January 2020, he took over as the Buildings and Grounds Director.
Ferry, who grew up in Edwardsville and graduated from EHS and SIU Edwardsville, worked for a couple landscaping guys around Edwardsville and eventually started his own landscaping business when he was in college. He also worked on the grounds crew at SIUE while he was a student there.
Primarily involved with grounds and landscaping when he started with District #7, he’s worked his way up and has learned several new things along the way.
“When I came into this position, I didn’t know a lot about air conditioners, but we have really qualified guys that have taught me a lot and helped me to succeed in managing this department.”
Ferry oversees a department of nearly 90 individuals in grounds, maintenance and custodial services.
“The people in the department are what make this job fun. It takes teamwork. Everyone works together and is great about dropping what we might be doing right now and having to go take care of something else.”
He also likes that the job is something different every day.
“Our schedule changes all day and every day. We don’t know what could happen or when it will happen.”
The function of the Buildings and Grounds Department is to maintain a clean and safe environment for students and staff in all 13 school buildings.
“We always say we go around putting out fires. Any problems that happen in any of the buildings, it’s on us to fix. We also make sure the buildings are functioning as they should be – not too hot and not too cold.”
Ferry said one of the things he’s most proud of during his career with District 7 is the work assist program with special education students.
“We’ve developed a program where we slowly integrate them in and give them jobs where they can succeed. It’s been neat to see some of these kids get jobs and excel and learn a job when they may not be able to do that elsewhere.”
Another thing he takes great pride in is the athletic fields.
“To me, that’s one of the best things about this school district. I love hearing people say how our sports complex is better than some colleges. For us that have and do work those fields, it’s huge for us to have people really see how awesome our facilities are here.”