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Employee Spotlight

NDVS/SB Maintenance
Husband & Father, Vintage Minibike Restorer, Newly Minted World Traveler 

For 37 ½ years, Jody Lembke drove to work at Simplot, just off Gateway Drive in Grand Forks. For the past 1 ½ years, his commute has been about 3 blocks longer, since he started working in the maintenance department at NDVS/SB. Three blocks but a world of difference lay between his past job and his current one. Jody, who grew up in Grand Forks and graduated from Grand Forks Central High School, appreciates that he gets to do important work here – and have his weekends and evenings free. And this time of year, he even gets to spend his days in the great outdoors. “I love that I get to be outside,” Jody says. “And I like working with a great group of people here.”

How did you end up at NDVS/SB?
I started working at JR Simplot in Grand Forks at the age of 19 and worked there for 37 ½ years. The last position I had there was in industrial refrigeration. Unfortunately, they let me go over a misunderstanding. When things got worked out through the union, they wanted me to come back, but instead of doing that, I retired from Simplot and kept my job here. I was tired of the 12-hour days and working every other weekend. This job has allowed me to slow down a bit and enjoy life more. 

I was actually on vacation, sitting on a beach in Florida when this job popped up on my phone on Indeed. I was working at Absolute Refrigeration for a little while, but when I saw this job, I thought I better look into it. I have known Tami Purcell (NDVS/SB Business Manager) for a long time, and she had mentioned the job to me a different time it was open. So I called her, and she was actually in Florida too! She encouraged me to apply. I started working here in December 2021.

What is your role at NDVS/SB? 
My role here in maintenance is different from what I’ve done before. I help keep the facility running, keep it clean and looking good. My job is to make things better and easier for people here. I think it’s important to take pride in your work, to do good work, and learn new things. 

In the morning, I walk around the building and pick up garbage and sticks, get it cleaned up and presentable. Greg has a list for me each day so I work on that, along with special summer projects. I check with Community High and see what they need. Trim up trees, mow if needed. It’s been challenging without rain this year. The grass looks terrible!

Tell us about your life outside of work.
I married my wife Noelle in 1987. We have two girls, who are now 32 and 31. 

One of my hobbies is that I restore vintage minibikes. I enjoy looking for parts and sprucing them up.

Tami and her husband Brian convinced my wife and I to start traveling. Our first trip was to Mexico. We went there with Tami and Brian and another couple, but we ended up getting there a day earlier than the other couples because we were on different flights, and theirs were cancelled. So our first time out of the U.S., we were unexpectedly alone! And then a little hurricane came by. Luckily it wasn’t real bad. They closed the beach down, but we stayed in the pool area. At least it was warm. We now try to go somewhere warm every November and March. During the summer we like to go to the lake. I can go every weekend with this job.

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