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Posted September 5, 2013

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Joseph Rael, M&O

Joseph Rael, who worked for APS for 19 years, retired in June. He spent 16 years of those years working in the pest control department of Maintenance and Operations.

"I had very good working relationships with my fellow workers and at the schools with principals, secretaries, custodial staffs and cafeteria personnel," Rael recalled.

In 2008, Rael worked with Jim Corchran, then assistant director of M&O, to institute a new way of handling pest control in the schools that didn't involve the use of chemicals.

Called Integrated Pest Management, the objective was to keep dangerous pesticides away from school children and staff.

The process made pest control more difficult because it involved more inspections, the use of screens and weather sweeps under doors and other organic methods to to keep bugs and rodents from getting into buildings.

Once it was adapted, the program proved effective. It also saved the district money because it no longer needed to purchase pesticides.

In his last three years at APS, after the district decided to contract out for pest control services, so Rael worked as a custodian at Van Buren and Jackson middle schools. He was head custodian at Jackson.

"I loved working in the schools. Ann Piper (former principal at Jackson) was a great boss and the custodial crew was top notch," Rael said. "APS will always remain in my heart. I made a lot of lifetime friends."

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