Security Sit-Down: Juan Martell
“Have a piece of chocolate.”
This is how security officer Juan Martell greets students as they enter Champagnat Hall. At the security desk, Juan had with him a tupperware filled with chocolates for students to enjoy. Students said hello and talked with Martell with a palpable sense of familiarity and comfort.
Freshman Samantha DaCruz ardently shared her enthusiastic approval for the security guard.
“Let it be known that Juan is the best security guard, and sometimes he tells jokes too,” DaCruz said.
In an interview with The Circle, Martell shared a bit about himself, his background, and insight into what makes working in the Marist community special.
Q: How long have you worked for Marist Security?
A: I’ve been here for, I would say, 12 years. Half of that was working part time, and then the other half has been full time.
Q: Where are you originally from, and where do you live now?
A: I was born in New York City, Manhattan, and now I live probably about 40 minutes away in Carmel, NY.
Q: What building do you primarily work with around campus?
A: We have a rotating schedule, so we’re not always at any particular building or patrol.
Q: Where did you work, or what did you do, before coming to Marist?
A: I did security for a contract company and that’s how I actually got my start here, because I was working for them and we’d come in to do football games and basketball games, and I was the supervisor. And then at that point, I walked into the director’s office and I just asked him if there was any positions open, and here I am.
Q: What made you want to work at Marist?
A: I enjoyed the atmosphere whenever I came by here… I enjoyed the people that I worked with. And I really enjoyed interacting with the students. That was a big part of it.
Q: What do you like about working at Marist?
A: I think the primary thing is interacting with the students. They keep me going, and I think that they need to have somebody that they can talk to, that they can say hi to, and somebody that will talk with them.
Q: So, I know that when students swipe in, you’ll ask them to tell you a joke or you’ll have candy for them. What inspired you to do that?
A: I just think that it helps with the community aspect of being part of security. A lot of times the students feel like we’re the enemy, and I’d much rather them feel that we’re here to help them and to support them. I don’t think that they should feel like they can’t come to us.
Q: What have been some memorable moments working here at Marist for you?
A: That’s a good question...I have so many memorable moments here. One of them was when Bernie Sanders came through. That was amazing to see how many people came to see him. The graduations are always memorable. The scenery, the backdrop for the graduations are beautiful. And just to see everybody so happy when everybody’s graduating.
Q: Do you have any kids?
A: I have five, two girls and three boys. And one grandson.