By Annette Brill Bergstresser
ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — Jeff Marshall, MDiv, Director of Maintenance and Campus Safety for Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, is retiring July 31, 2022, after more than 11 years of service.
Marshall started at AMBS in January 2011 as Assistant Director of Maintenance. In October 2012, he was promoted to his current role, in which he has been responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the seminary’s buildings and grounds.
Deanna Risser, MBA, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, praised Marshall’s prompt follow-through, creativity in solving problems, strong communication skills and attention to details.
“I have found Jeff a joy to work with,” she reflected. “His deep care for AMBS students, employees, facilities and grounds is evident in his careful work, often done behind the scenes. His efficiency and proactive approach have helped AMBS keep on top of safety and compliance issues, as well as building upkeep and renovation. He is always finding ways to improve things.”
Major projects that Marshall led and worked on included installing steel roofing on Waltner Hall and other campus buildings; remodeling the seminary’s lecture hall into three flexible multipurpose rooms; transforming the former bookstore space into the Admissions Office; and renovating a house adjacent to AMBS that was donated to the seminary.
He also oversaw the recarpeting of Waltner Hall; the painting of most areas of Waltner Hall and Lambright Center; the refurbishing of student apartments; and upgrades to the lighting in campus buildings. During his time at AMBS, he has supervised hundreds of student workers, volunteers and employees.
Risser said that Marshall consistently exceeded expectations in making safety adaptations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting, “This was an important part of what enabled us to find our way forward in the midst of COVID-19 and to keep our infection instances extremely low compared to other institutions.”
Marshall’s colleagues affirmed the way he shows up with a willing spirit to do whatever is asked; his passion for quality workmanship in construction and painting; his understanding of the many interconnected parts of a decision; and his consistently careful planning — such as a three-year plan to maintain the parking lots or a plan to systematically update the student apartments using existing budget resources.
Coming to AMBS with a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, and with experience in pastoral leadership, Marshall has valued AMBS’s mission to prepare leaders for the church and has seen his service as contributing to it. He has participated actively in community life at the seminary.
“Having a Director of Maintenance with the heart and training of a pastor has been a huge gift and blessing to AMBS,” said Risser. “Jeff has shared openly about his faith and life struggles in chapel services and other forums, with the understanding that others are likely facing similar trials and can be encouraged by his testimony. Also, we’ve lost track of the number of times he’s inflated tires, loaned ladders, helped with moves, towed stuck vehicles and assisted with various other personal challenges or crises we have faced.”
In addition to his Master of Divinity, Marshall earned a Bachelor of Arts from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Prior to coming to AMBS, he served as a pastor and assistant pastor at several United Methodist congregations in North Carolina and Indiana. He also worked for 14 years with a local construction company as a painter and job supervisor.
Marshall and his wife, Gail Marshall, have five children and 13 grandchildren. They reside in Elkhart and attend Cornerstone Vineyard Church in Mishawaka, Indiana. Knowing the importance of volunteers on campus, Marshall looks forward to continuing his relationship with AMBS as a volunteer in his retirement.
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