Supervisor of central receiving in the building complex between the lakeside and south campuses, Beth Gentile's areas of responsibility have grown and updated significantly in the quarter-century since she was hired to head the maintenance stockroom in Mahar Hall.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Fulton and went to high school there.

What did you do after high school?

I went to Herkimer Community College for two years and got my associate's degree. Then I got married. He was in the Air Force. We went to midwestern Illinois for four years, and then Plattsburgh for four years.

When did you return to this area?

We came back here to Oswego in '88. My son was one and a half. I didn't work for a couple of years until he started school. I used to work in the bookstore here during the rushes -- my mother worked at the college for a long time. She told me to start taking the Civil Service test, so I did. I took every interview I could take until I got this job.

When did you start full time at SUNY Oswego?

Feb. 16, 1993. A fast 26 years! I was hired for the maintenance stockroom in Mahar. Housing and academic (facilities) maintenance merged together in '99, I think it was. Kevin (Shea) joined me -- he was in the housing stockroom. The two of us have been running the merged maintenance stockroom ever since.

When were you promoted?

I was promoted in December 2017. We got moved over here (to Building 11 off Mollison Street) last April. They were trying to eliminate the tractor-trailer traffic on campus and also needed the space in Mahar. They (Facilities Services) merged the mailroom with central receiving. They also took trucking from custodial, so now we're central receiving, the mailroom, the maintenance stockroom and trucking. It's been a growing process, a new way of doing things. For the stockroom, it's made it easier to get things delivered, now that I'm in charge of trucking. There are now nine permanent employees and about 10 student employees. We've had students from BOCES and regular student workers from the college. All the maintenance staff comes here, and it can be a very busy place at times.

What are your duties?

We sort and deliver anything to do with the mail -- the mailings from Admissions, the postcards that theatre sends out and so on. All of those we process and deliver. We stock everything for maintenance -- custodians, electricians, plumbers, building trades. We order it, stock it. Trucking moves everything from here -- furniture, boxes, custodial supplies, picnic tables, scenery, confidential burn runs. We use TMA Systems' iServe maintenance (management) software. That means everything we stock here has to have a number on it. Once we do an inventory and get all organized this year, UPCs (universal product codes) are the next step.

What achievement are you proudest of during your tenure?

I think moving over here and merging all of central receiving together. We have a good team -- we've had people out (of work), people with sick kids -- other people fill in. It's teamwork. I think we've established a good central receiving. When I first interviewed with Mary (DePentu) for the job, I told her I really like my job. We have our bad days, but basically I like coming to work.

What's your favorite part of the job?

Dealing with people. I get salesmen, truck drivers, the staff -- all kinds of people. And every day is different, sometimes better, sometimes not! (Laughs.)

What are some of the qualities of your staff that you admire? 

They all have a lot of knowledge of the campus. Courtesy -- they all want to please the customer and go out of their way to try to accommodate all the customers. They all like to keep busy. They have good initiative.

What do you think of your student workers over the years?

A lot of different personalities. (For example,) hockey players have worked here for several years; this year, we have four. We've learned as much from the student employees as I think they've learned from us. They're all interested in learning. They don't realize everything that's involved (until they work here). They know there are people who come and fix things in their dorm, but they don't know all that goes into it, that we're self-contained. Right now, we're starting up ordering all of the things for the dorms for this summer. The two custodial supervisors and I work together to get what they'll need. We work 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., trucks in and out all the time. Building 11, where we are, is the commissary; Building 12 (across the delivery yard) is the maintenance building. 

Can you tell an anecdote about a challenging day in your career? 

We had a water main break right outside the north end of Mahar once. You came down the stairs to about 4 inches of water on the whole basement level. Luckily, the toilet paper and everything was on pallets, so it didn't quite reach there. It was a team effort -- we called every custodian around. They couldn't get the water shut off right away. That was the craziest time, I have to say.

What other activities have you gotten involved with on campus?

When the (CSEA) union has Christmas parties, I'm usually on those committees and help sell the tickets and stuff. Most of the time, I've been busy enough doing what I do. We interview potential new hires. There are two empty positions in here.

Are there any other big projects coming up in any of your areas?

There are always new post office things. The postage just went up so there were a lot of things we had to change with that. We are constantly getting updated (mail-processing) machines. The meters in the mailroom are both new in the last couple of months.

What do you like to do in your down time?

Gardening -- I get home from work and go out and spend time in the backyard and pull weeds and all that. That's my cathartic (activity). I golf as much as I can in the summer. I'm not a great golfer, but I have fun and really enjoy being outside. My mother and I bought kayaks last year, so we go out on the lake. I spend a lot of time with my family.

The college directory has your first name as Natalie.

My real name is Natalie Elizabeth -- my father liked Natalie Wood. When I got to kindergarten, they asked me what I wanted to be called, and I had always gone by Beth, so that's what I said. When I got to first grade, my teacher said I should go by my given name, and she changed everything to Natalie, so I had to learn to spell that. But it's been Beth ever since -- except on my paycheck.

What else can you tell us about your family?

My son is 32. He lives here in Oswego and works at Azteca; he loves music and bowling. My grandmother lives next door -- she's 99. I take her a lot of places; we do all kinds of things. We like to go down and have margaritas together. We have a good old time. I like traveling. My mother and I are going to Florida next week. My brother lives in Denver; we go there every couple of years. My aunt lives there, too. I brought a couple of my friends this year, because they'd never been out there. It's just a really pretty place. We go to the mountains and tour around. We did indoor skydiving this year over a big wind tunnel -- something different that I never thought I'd do.

What's something about you that only friends and relatives know?

I'm Irish and St. Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday. We get all dressed up, and my mother, my grandmother, my sister -- we have a large group that goes out to celebrate. We usually start at Woodchuck's, with their corned beef sandwiches. It's a family thing. My niece will be happy, because this year she's 21, so she'll be able to go this year.