Published in The Rebel Yell issue 09/24/2007
The UNLV campus and buildings usually just seem to work. Doors are unlocked, the grounds are clean and the things that are needed somehow are just there. But those things don’t just happen. There are people working, behind the scenes in most cases, who make things a little easier for students, professors and the administrative staff. These people are the UNLV maintenance and custodial personnel.
All buildings have custodial staff who keep the campus clean, and most buildings have at least one maintenance person who comes in, unlocks all the doors, makes sure that the technology needed is available and ensures that everything in the building is running smoothly.
Haike Goomroyan is a maintenance worker who works in the Alta Ham Fine Arts building.
“You know what a concierge does in a hotel? Well I’m the concierge of the music department,” Goomroyan said.
His job is a blend of many trades. He is the maintenance man and security. He is in charge locking and unlocking the building and is required to know HFA’s and Beam Music Center’s event schedules.
He also takes care of the performers—making sure they are comfortable and have everything they need—and is the students’ biggest supporter.
“This job would not be a good job if I didn’t like people, but I have had the opportunity to work with great people,” Goomroyan said. “Everyone from the staff, to the students, to the artists who come in to play in our hall, has made this job very rewarding.”
Goomroyan began his career at UNLV in 1983. Originally from the then Soviet-controlled Armenia, Goomroyan moved to Las Vegas 24 years ago and started studying at UNLV. He was a percussion player majoring in music performance.
The music department was looking for student workers to take care of the practice rooms and HFA in general, and three years after he had begun his studies, Goomroyan and a few others were hired.
However, there were not many students workers who were reliable and trustworthy. Kenneth Hanlon, director of the music department at that time, was disappointed with many of the other student employees and decided to keep just one. That one was Goomroyan.
The music department was rather small when Goomroyan started, and he was just a part-time employee with few responsibilities. But, in the spring of 1988 he went on a five-and-a-half-month long tour to Japan with a small brass band.
When he returned in the fall of 1988, the Strip was upside-down. A strike was in progress and Goomroyan was nervous that he would not be able to find consistent work as a musician on the Strip.
“It was a real decisive moment for me. I had to decide what I wanted to do, and since I already had a job here, I decided I would just stick with it,” Goomroyan said.
Goomroyan’s job, however, is not the same today as it was in 1988. When he started working in HFA, he had many responsibilities but nothing compared to the workload he currently has.
“Four or five years ago when Beam opened, that was it,” Goomroyan said. “My workload tripled and I belonged to the music department from then on.”
Goomroyan went from having a student, part-time job to a full-time career. His hard work is definitely noticed and appreciated by both the faculty and students.
“Without Haike, this place would come to a grinding halt,” Hanlon, a professor in the music department, said.
Although Goomroyan has much work, he loves his job. He loves working for the music department and working with the students and staff.
“It is very rewarding watching the students go from the time they get here to their senior recitals,” Goomroyan said. “Five years down the road when a student is playing in Carnegie Hall, I can say, ‘Hey I took care of that kid.'”
The students and staff place great trust in Goomroyan and consider him part of the music family.
“Heike is wonder-man and is very supportive of everything we do,” Christina Williams, a choir major, said. “He is part of the family around here. HFA would not be the same without him.”