It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is — Henry Dorta said he always wakes up excited to kickstart the day as a foreman in St. Joseph’s College’s Office of Physical Plant.
He said he enjoys serving the SJC Brooklyn community, looking after the buildings on its picturesque Clinton Hill campus and experiencing the kind nature of the people at work.
Much has changed in the more than three decades Mr. Dorta has worked at the College. He has seen the campus expand to cover three city blocks and the surrounding neighborhood boom with new restaurants and businesses. And along the way, he has established meaningful connections with coworkers and the Sisters of St. Joseph.
“There’s been a lot of changes around here — good changes,” Mr. Dorta said. “The school is beautiful, and the neighborhood is beautiful.”
He said that when he first came to SJC, he had trouble finding a good place to eat lunch or dinner in the area. But the neighborhood has since transformed into a culturally diverse hub with many restaurants to choose from.
His favorite: Brooklyn Public House on Dekalb Avenue. Mr. Dorta’s wife and children often meet him there for dinner (they love the burgers and sandwiches) when he works late.
“I can’t say enough about Henry; we call him Mr. SJC,” said Linda Vignato, director of Physical Plant, discussing how valuable Mr. Dorta is to the College. “He loves the College and adores the Sisters of St. Joseph. I don’t think he will ever retire.”
To “Mr. SJC,” his job is much more than supervising projects. He uses three words to describe his role at the College: “Making people happy.”
“When the students come by, we’re usually busy — but they’re very nice,” Mr. Dorta said. “We work with them and help them out. Same thing with the professors and anyone else.”
While Mr. Dorta is often on call at work, he still makes time for things he loves outside of work. Bowling and taking walks with his wife and kids in their Bay Ridge neighborhood top that list. Mr. Dorta has made many family memories at SJC.
In his early days at St. Joe’s, Mr. Dorta worked with his dad and brother. His favorite familial SJC memory might be the time he and his brother placed a Coca-Cola bottle in a hole in a young tree in front of Lorenzo Hall, some 20 years ago. The tree grew around the soda bottle, and it remains there today.