PTA leader takes on Howbert job himself

       It's one of those jobs where things look so right afterwards it's hard to remember what it looked like before.
        Even Principal Rick Gallegos wasn't 100 percent sure, when the construction dust had cleared, where the old counter had been located in the Howbert Elementary office before tool-handy parent Mike Reed took on a recent project that made it at least a third bigger.
       Only after a reminder from administrative assistant Candy Lesoing (who had her photographs to help out) did Gallegos recall how the counter had once lined up with his own office door. He didn't need to be told how cramped Lesoing and fellow staffer Lesa Ronnau had been at their work stations, or the old, non-logistic layout that used to exist for administration staff and teachers to make copies, collate, hole-punch and perform various other office tasks.
        Now his admins are happy, and the office is updated and user-friendly.
       “I can't say thanks enough,” Gallegos told Reed at an all-school assembly in mid-May at which Reed received a certificate of appreciation and lengthy applause. “You've pretty much single-handedly done this… You helped us put together a major project to help our school environment.”
       Vice-president of the school's PTA, Reed is a former kitchen designer and current owner of Unified Office Services (an office supply business). He has two children at Howbert.
       Reed drew on his construction background to plan and accomplish the job (with some help from Gallegos and his staff), persuaded his business customers to provide material and cash donations, and talked District 11 into assigning technology workers to install the necessary upgraded wiring.
       With the work done but for the painting last week, he estimated that if the job had been contracted out in a normal manner, it would have cost $5,000 to $8,000.
       The Howbert PTA had been setting aside money, in anticipation of such an expense - a project “they've talked about for years and years,” Reed said - but at last he decided to take on the project himself. As a result, the only cost is about $500 to the PTA, he said.
       Afterward, Reed modestly said the work was just “something that needed to be done.”

Westside Pioneer article