Saul Reyna Carreon loves his job and loves hands-on work. He is the Lead HVAC employee for the district and responsible for the HVAC systems on all campuses and administration buildings. Although he loves to work, it can’t be an easy job keeping 8,300 students and 1,285 employees at a comfortable temperature.
He said with a laugh, “You can’t satisfy everyone.”
But Mr. Carreon does his very best to do just that. He gets to work at 6:15 a.m. ready to tackle any issues. He begins his day at the middle school, where he has a kind of basecamp for the district. There he can check on the campuses and make sure everything is running smoothly, sometimes from using a program on his cell phone.
Before diving into the world of HVAC, Mr. Carreon (or CoCo, his nickname) was working as a plumber. Being certified in both, he said the two go hand-in-hand. He worked at Lufkin ISD four years ago as a plumber, then went to work in the oil fields for three years. He has been back at Lufkin ISD for the past year working on air conditioners.
As a 1995 graduate of Diboll High School, Mr. Carreon was not that interested in the books. He loved to work on things with his hands and enjoyed solving most mathematical equations in his mind.
He said, “I can do problems in my head. I had to take a test twice in high school because my teacher thought I cheated since I just put the answers with no work. She would ask where are the formulas, and I would tell her they were in my head. I even did better on the test the second time I took it!”
Having the ability to do mental math has served Mr. Carreon well. When he was working in the oil fields he was able to do computer programming at a more advanced level than other workers who had been there much longer.
“I never attended college but learned by looking. I was a Level 5 programmer, and people who had been working there for 10 years had just achieved that. They would ask me how I know things, and I would say I just learned it,” he said.
With the use of technology, some of Mr. Carreon’s calls can be done remotely from his phone.
He said, “Sometimes I don’t need to be there. Ninety percent of the time we do work outside. We don’t want to disrupt the teachers. We try to not make too much noise.”
As he pulled out his phone and showed the computer program used to run the systems for the entire district, he said, “If someone needs the air on in the gym, I can do it from my phone.”
Mr. Carreon has a strong work ethic. He believes in putting in hard day’s work. He began to develop this work ethic early on while working two jobs in high school. He worked at Brazos Cattle Company and Crown Colony. At Crown Colony, he would mow the grass and tend to the outdoors.
He said, “ I worked there during the year that the course was named the No. 1 golf course in the state. I didn’t learn how to play, but I would putter around some. I worked one job during the morning and the other one at night.”
With a big smile on his face, he blamed his golf shank on being ambidextrous.
While working at the oil rigs, he worked 28 days straight with only 24 hours off. In three years he only took off four days. When not at work, he’s still at work. He commented that once people know you can do something like plumbing, they call. He does enjoy collecting and shooting guns. He enjoys going to the woods or rivers and taking scenic routes.
He did mention that he hates the cold.
“I want it to be 120 degrees outside,” he said. “I would live in Hawaii if I had the choice.”
Lufkin ISD is a special place, Mr. Carreon said. He enjoys working with his co-workers and appreciates the job that Mr. Ross, the director of maintenance, does for the district.
“I get along with everyone. That’s why I love it. When I need a hand, it makes it so easy. I’ve worked with big corporations, and I never met my boss. I am one of those guys who likes to see people face to face. Here I can talk to Mr. Ross, and he can speak with Admin and get an answer so I can get it done.”
He said, “I like to fix things the right way. I’m still learning because I am new to it, but I enjoy learning.”
We’re grateful to have your expertise and strong work ethic to keep us cool in the summer and warm during the winter. Thank you, Mr. Carreon, for a job well done!