George Longyear, director of Yale Housing and Fleet Management, is often seen briskly walking around campus ensuring things are running smoothly. When he is not helping a student with a housing issue or reviewing the summer renovations to-do list, he may be out testing a vehicle that runs on electric or another alternative fuel.
George, a valuable contributor to the Yale community, began working here in 1988, as a part-time custodian. Within a year of employment, he was hired as a full-time supervisor. He now manages a tightknit group of 21 staff and student workers, oversees 12 properties, and a fleet of 500 vehicles. Managing employees he highly regards, George tells us “I am so blessed to have the most amazing staff members on campus. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them, and I know that they feel the same in return.”
Over the years, George has been recognized and honored many times for the wonderful work he and his teams do. He received the Excellence Award by Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen for arranging donations of working vehicles to ensure the continued pick-up and delivery of food to those in need. To keep children safe, he had speed bumps installed in the driveways of graduate housing locations, and his Yale Fleet team was recognized for its sustainability and efficiency efforts, just to mention a few.
George has deep ties to this area. Born and raised in New Haven, he went to school locally, graduating from Notre Dame High School and Quinnipiac University. He lives with his wife Bunny (also a Yale employee) in Hamden, has two grown sons, George II and Brian, and a grandson Rhys. Read on to learn a few things about George you may not know.
What are some of your hobbies?
Gardening. I love to garden. I grow mostly all my vegetables and flowers from seeds. I enjoy sharing seedlings with others and eating what I grow. I also have a passion for baking (you can ask my suite-mates); my wife taught me everything I know. Christmas is our big yearly event–we produce gallons of homemade eggnog and tons of cookies for neighbors and friends. I also officiate women’s lacrosse and field hockey at the high school and collegiate level. I am the only male official in Connecticut who received the outstanding official of the year award for both sports.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?
A former boss of mine, Jim Hackett, once told me, “Yale has been around for 300 years and will be around for another 300 years, with or without you. Understand your role here, work hard, and leave your impression on this great institution.” I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Every day that I come to work, I think of that advice and use it.
Words of wisdom for people just starting their career at Yale?
I love sharing my story of my career at Yale, especially to new employees. I direct two important operations at Yale, Housing and Fleet Management, and I started as a part-time custodian! Yale is so diverse and offers many opportunities. Don’t ever think twice about taking on new challenges. Yale offers a lot to their employees and their families. Participate in as much as you can, the rewards are amazing.
What books are you currently reading/what shows are you watching?
I am reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It is a fascinating book on the law of attraction. While my television watching is limited to news and sports, I do find shows about living off the grid like Mountain Men and Life Below Zero interesting. On the lighter side, my wife and I enjoy following American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
What is your favorite thing to do/place to eat in New Haven?
Although I do enjoy some of the better restaurants in town like Harvest and Goodfellas, I prefer supporting local smaller restaurants like Town Pizza and Yorkside (best Greek salad and Gyro around!). The residential college dining halls are another great choice for delicious, quality food.