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Week of June 24, 2013

Staff Spotlight

Former soundman keeps show rolling

Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Billy Joel have trusted operations to Pat Greeley, and so has the College of Pharmacy, since he left the life as a rock ’n’ roll sound engineer in the 1980s.

For 27 years, the facilities manager has been a team member to faculty, students and staff, keeping sound systems working, lights on, and operations generally running. Every detail related to keeping the college’s facilities up and running crosses his desk, from room requests, light bulb replacements and audio/visual support to major renovations.

Photo by Gregory Fox.

“I really enjoy working with the students and I like being a part of their education, even if it is a nonteaching part,” he says.

This summer, he will oversee another pharmacy renovation project: a remodeling of the administrative wing of pharmacy’s first floor.

His road to U-M began in the 1970s, which he describes as an exciting time for music in Ann Arbor. Bars were adding live music of all types — blues, country, folk and jazz to attract customers. Greeley began his career working as a sound man and bartender for Mr. Flood’s Party (now closed) on Liberty Street, then expanded skills in sound engineering, which he took on the road in 1978.

Touring as a sound engineer with a variety of bands across the United States and in Europe, Greeley typically would face a 10 a.m. stage call six days each week, and work concerts lasting until well after midnight. Despite the grueling schedule, he remembers it fondly. “Keeping the show going required a lot of teamwork,” he explains. “Setting the production up, and seeing it work every day was really satisfying.”

But after a few years, the road life began to wear on him. “Living with a bunch of raunchy guys in a bus is way overrated,” he says with a smile. He switched to band merchandising; selling branded items such as T-shirts, posters and hats. Greeley says he was thankful for the opportunity to get off the work-a-day treadmill and relish the comforts of a hotel room. The salary bump was also nice.

It was a situation that worked well until late one night in 1983. He was riding shotgun in a truck driving through Texas. It was late, and he was tired. “So I decided to take a nap,” he says. “Unfortunately, so did the driver.” His injuries were extensive, requiring months of hospital rehabilitation.

Greeley returned to Ann Arbor, resumed bartending and sound engineering for local bands and venues — which included a 13-year stint at The Ark music venue — and started working part time for the College of Pharmacy. “I had no master plan in mind when I started my career at U-M. I was presented with the opportunity to apply my skills to bigger and more complex problems; to learn something new every day,” he says.

From managing productions on stage, he transitioned to managing productions in the classrooms and year by year has taken on more responsibilities. Greeley says he has formed strong working relationships in every corner of the college and the university. He also has built a rapport with contractors, and developed a knack for knowing how to get things done.

“I feel privileged to work here, to be a partner in a diverse community of people dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. I cannot envision any purpose better than that,” he says.


The weekly Spotlight features faculty and staff members at the university. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at urecord@umich.edu.

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STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Pat Greeley, facilities manager, College of Pharmacy, on his job: “I really enjoy working with the students and I like being a part of their education.”

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