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Andrew Dalessio

“I really enjoy brush-mowing down in the Meadows in the fall. You’re down there in your tractor doing your thing. It’s quiet. You’re by the woods.”

We recently sat down with Andrew Dalessio from the Physical Plant and found out he used to own a landscaping business and maintains a passion for working outdoors. An office job is not for him, much to the benefit of the Loomis Chaffee grounds.

Hometown: East Hartford, Conn. (grew up in Manchester, Conn.)

Role at Loomis: Has worked in the Physical Plant since 2019. Handles mowing, brush-hogging, plowing, and working with heavy equipment. Andrew also is responsible for maintaining the waterfall and pond in the Japanese garden on the west side of the Clark Center for Science & Math and doing all aspects of work in a Grounds Department that is constantly busy on the 300-acre campus. Right now, everyone is reaping the rewards of the crew’s hard work: 7,500 tulip bulbs were planted in the fall for spring flowers.

Andrew has more than "30 years of experience and know-how,” says Lance Hall, director of the Physical Plant. Lance says Andrew has “a willingness to share his knowledge and skill set with others” and has a kind attitude and approach.

Previous jobs: For one summer he commuted into New York City from Long Island (two trains and a subway) to Shearson Lehman on Wall Street. He made cold calls, lining up people to talk with stockbrokers. Up at 5 a.m., he would not get home until 8 p.m. “It wasn’t for me, but I tried it,” he says. The great outdoors was calling. First, he worked at maintaining area golf courses (Keney Park Golf Course and Goodwin Park Golf Course in Hartford; Rolling Greens Golf Course in Rocky Hill, Conn.). He then owned his own landscaping business for 22 years before coming to Loomis Chaffee. He said he still misses it, but the business was dependent on many things, ranging from weather to the economy.

What’s your favorite part of your job at Loomis? “I really enjoy brush-mowing down in the Meadows in the fall. You’re down there in your tractor doing your thing. It’s quiet. You’re by the woods.” There are some visitors, though. He sees a fair number of coyotes. He also enjoys mowing, that satisfaction that comes from “making the lawn look nice.” And he enjoys snowplowing (“if we ever get any snow”).

Aerial photo of the Meadows sports fields with the Loomis Chaffee school in the background

Sports fields in the Meadows along the bank of the Farmington River

How long does it take to mow everything at Loomis? “I would say with everyone doing their part, a week, and then you start all over again.” Between six and seven people mow regularly during the season. The athletic fields get mowed twice weekly.

What’s the best compliment that you can receive in your job? “Usually it’s ‘the campus looks great’ or ‘you guys are doing a great job.’ It’s good to hear something like that.” Andrew said he hears it quite often.

I imagine the last thing you want to do is mow your own lawn. “You might laugh at this, but I mow five houses on Saturdays. I mow my lawn and four others (customers going back 20 years from when he owned his business).”

Hobbies or ways he spends time on days off? He used to ski but hasn’t in a few years. He also doesn’t golf as much as he used to. His wintertime hobby now is working with his CNC router machine for woodworking. His most recent project was making a clock.

Favorite meal? Steak, baked potato, and asparagus.

If you could invite someone famous, present or past, to dinner, who would it be? “Not sure they would be considered famous,” Andrew said, “but my mother and father. I miss them.”

If you won $1 million, what would you do with it? “I’d like to retire,” he said with a laugh. He and his wife would travel. One place: Italy, from which his grandparents came.


 

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