Mountain People Episode 6
January 15, 2018
Rocky is Boyne Mountain's Telecommunications Technician. At 80 years old, he's still working as hard as ever - and can be found all over the mountain on any given day, repairing lines, installing new technology, or delivering some of his delicious homemade caramel corn to fellow staff members.
"I had retired from Michigan Bell after 38 years, and I was helping my son who is a builder in Boyne City. I ran into Ed Grice, who went to school with my kids, in the street one day and asked me if I'd consider working for Boyne. I said yes, and the next thing I knew, it was 1994 and I was working in IT for Boyne Mountain. Back in those days, Boyne Mountain had a brand new phone system - never before implemented. The Cliff Dweller had no phones in any of the rooms in the whole building. They had about eight payphones in the building for employees and guests.
I ended up wiring that entire building, putting a phone in every room - making my way through crawl spaces, attics...anywhere that I could get inside the walls. And Boyne Mountain wasn't as it is now...Back then, there wasn't the Village of Disciples Ridge, the Mountain Cabins, Bluegreen, or any of that. So I engineered all the cabling that went into those...it's been quite a project.
Of course, it wasn't all phones. I learned computers, PBX, administration, networking...all that. Even though I had 38 years at the phone company, I had to learn with the development of the technology.
Since I was raised in the phone company, I was guest-oriented, a public type of person...you know, I did everything I could for the guest, and for the people in the field. Not every day is a good one, but you have to have a good attitude no matter what.
As people got moved around, moved out, I'd go in an set up their phone, so I've always one of the first people everyone meets when they start. That's how I met a lot of people, and what makes it feel like family here.
You know, when I first started, the Mountain Grand Lodge wasn't here, that was the parking lot. Not too many people were allowed to park here - only the important people - but when they hired me, I just pulled right up and parked right here. I'd come in from my parking spot, and they said, "Don't let Everett see you park out there!"
Everett was a nice guy with incredible vision, but he ran a tight ship around here. Well, one day, Everett and I pulled in at the same time. We were walking in together, and since I knew he was an avid fly fisherman just like me, I said, "Hi Mr. Kircher, how's the fishing been for you?" He just lit up, beaming from ear-to-ear chatting about what he loved. Meanwhile, back inside, all the guys are watching Everett talking to me in the parking lot for half an hour, wondering what the heck I'm talking about with the big boss man. I left that one as a mystery for a long while after that.
It's been a great place to work. Especially for an old guy, I mean, I was an old guy when I started here... and that was 24 years ago!"