Mike Endres: Local 479, Apple Valley

Mike Endres at the splash pad in Kelley Park in Apple Valley.

Endres is a project crew foreman. He oversees upkeep, maintenance, and repairs on most of the buildings, water attractions, plumbing, and other infrastructure in the suburb’s more than 50 parks.

“What we are paid to do is make it possible for people to enjoy our parks,” he says. “Studies have proven that when people recreate, they’re much happier, they’re more settled, they’re more stable.”

Endres oversees a staff of six, which doubles with seasonal help in the summer. “I call us the ADD crew,” he says, because they rarely get to stay on one task for long. “We’ve always got an emergency somewhere else.”

Prioritizing projects can be a challenge, he says, especially when members of the public wonder why something at their neighborhood park isn’t being taken care of right away. “At times, it can be overwhelming,” Endres says. “But I love the variety of it. I love the freedom of it. And being outdoors is always great.”