David Steiner, a building service worker for Facilities and Services, has never stopped moving and doesn't plan to stop anytime soon.
Steiner was an ironworker for 17 years, ran his own tree-care service for another 10, and was working on his certificate to become a Certified Nursing Assistant when he was offered a job as a kitchen laborer at the U. of I. in 2010.
Variety has been the spice in Steiner's life, and that hasn't changed at the U. of I.
He continues to take the requisite tests to move up the employment ranks, going from the kitchen to the car pool to a BSW post at Gregory Hall - and finally to the campus moving crew, where he has worked for the past year.
"It's been a great experience here," he said. "I like talking to people and I like helping people - I always have. I just try to be nice to everybody. I get a lot of smiles because I try to say 'good morning' to everyone."
The moving job has given him a perspective of the whole campus that not many get.
The crew comprises 10 workers and is responsible for moving furniture and equipment from any campus building. One day the crew may help move staff members out of the soon-to-be-renovated Natural History Building; the next, it may be helping set up chairs at graduation or some other public event.
"They send us all over the place," he said. "I don't usually know where I'm going to be until they tell me at 8 a.m. I've learned where most of the buildings are and who the building person is, and I can find my way around pretty well."
One of the challenges of the job is that so many campus offices reside within renovated residential housing. That usually translates to tighter spaces, heavy file cabinets and lots of steps.
"Yes, it's something we kind of dread - but we know it has to be done and we're the ones who will do it," he said.
Steiner, one of the older men on the moving crew, said he gets his fair share of razzing about his age. He says the key point he makes to anyone who makes a comment about his age is that he can still keep up with the younger guys.
"All the guys I work with are great guys," he said, "but they don't give me any leniency, that's for sure."
He said he is always careful to lift with the proper technique and to communicate with co-workers to prevent accidents.
"We use as many tools as we can, but sometimes you just have to do it the old-fashioned way," he said. "You just have to take your time and talk to each other while you're lifting something or somebody will get hurt."
Steiner's father was a military man, and the family, with six children, moved frequently while he was growing up. In fact, five children were born in different U.S. states, and David, the fourth in line, was born in Bermuda. The family moved back to the U.S. when David was in first grade.
Steiner said when the family ended up in Paxton, after his father was assigned to Chanute Air Force Base, his mother said, "I'm done; if you want to keep going, that's your choice."
Steiner still lives in rural Paxton, has been married for 34 years and has two adult-aged daughters. They grew up riding horses, one of Steiner's passions.