BAR HARBOR — Eric Hann has followed an interesting career path to his new job as operations manager for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System.
Originally from Connecticut, he was the IT director for companies in that state before moving to Maine.
“I would create software to help people do their jobs better and easier,” Hann said.
He and his wife, Sue, had lived in northern Maine briefly when they were first married, but then moved back to Connecticut, where they raised their family. But they had always wanted to own a bed and breakfast inn in a small coastal town in Maine.
So, in 2005 they bought an old farmhouse in Lamoine, between Lamoine State Park and Lamoine Beach, and spent the next few years renovating and expanding it. They opened the Chocolate Chip B&B in 2011.
Hann said that when he left Connecticut, he thought he might be able to retire. But he and his wife needed health insurance, so he went to work as an IT contractor at the General Electric manufacturing plant in Bangor.
Then, about four years ago, when GE let all their contractors go, he got a job as a custodian at Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor. Six months later, he took a custodial position at MDI High School.
“I love the kids and dealing with the kids and the teachers,” Hann said.
When the new position of operations manager for the entire school district was created, effective at the start of July, he realized that, with his background, it was a job he could do.
Now, he is responsible for transportation, and he oversees projects such as roof repairs, boiler replacements and renovations both large and small. Those are things that, in the past, fell to the principals and custodians in each of the schools.
“I just want to help people and relieve some of their pressure,” Hann said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.
“I feel I can get things running a little bit smoother and, I hope, make things a little easier for students, parents, teachers, bus drivers and principals.”
School Superintendent Marc Gousse was a strong proponent of creating the position of district-wide operations manager, noting that principals, who are supposed to be the educational leaders of their schools, have neither the time nor the training to be hands-on facilities managers.