Queen's University

Ivan MacKeen, Business Manager, Physical Plant Services

Ivan MacKeen started working at Queen's in 1968. He retires this month.

Ivan MacKeen’s first job at Queen’s was as a technician in the department of Civil Engineering. He set up laboratories and worked in the concrete lab, breaking test cylinders. That was back in 1968 and he was 21 years old.

“I’m still here so I must have done something right,” jokes Mr. MacKeen, who is retiring this month after 44 years at the university. “I certainly feel like I’ve developed a lot of good relationships. It’s such a nice feeling and that’s the hard part now, pulling out of this social circle.”

Mr. MacKeen spent 14 years in Civil Engineering, working his way up to head technician before leaving for Physical Plant Services (PPS), where he started as operations supervisor, overseeing the installation of Queen’s first energy management system. Soon he moved into the operations manager role at PPS, covering the departments of grounds, housekeeping, parking and security. In 1985, reorganization dismantled PPS and moved housekeeping to General Services, where Mr. MacKeen led custodial services as manager for 10 years. PPS was soon recreated and he moved up the ranks quickly into his current role of business manager at PPS.

Looking back, Mr. MacKeen feels the past four decades have gone by quickly. He’s enjoyed the work, and the challenges, the troubleshooting he’s done on a daily basis. When he moved into the role of operations manager at PPS, he also became involved in the union and found the work rewarding.

“I have always tried to be positive and have a good outlook on things,” says Mr. MacKeen. “In all of my work, I always ask myself: How can we improve this situation, how can we make things better?”

Mr. MacKeen’s last day at Queen’s is Aug. 10. He looks forward to working on carpentry projects in his home workshop and heading to campgrounds around the province with his wife, Linda, also a longtime Queen’s employee (now retired) whom he met during his early days at PPS.

A reception in Mr. MacKeen’s honour will be held Aug. 9 from 3 – 4:30 pm in the Urquhart Lounge of the University Club.

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Last updated at 4:28 pm EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
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