Remember that old image of the building superintendent? The guy was carrying a wrench and a screwdriver.
But Dwayne Doucette is a lot more than that.
Where he works on the Upper East Side, at a two-tower building on the East End Avenue, he is not just a fix-it guy. He’s also a contractor, a social worker, a childcare provider and a mediator between tenants.
Doucette, 53, started his career in building service as a doorman in 1983 and worked his way up to handyman, and then in 2001 to a building superintendent. Since 2002, he’s worked along East End Avenue, in three separate buildings. He’s been in his current building for six years.
A perk of the job, Doucette says, is an apartment on the property, but that means that he is on call 24/7.
“My phone is always on, even by my head while I sleep. If in the middle of night there’s a leak or a fire, I’m the first responder,” Doucette says.
Doucette enjoys the varied nature of his work. “I like to do something different every part of the day, whether it’s centered around the building’s mechanicals and making sure everything is functioning properly, or turning over apartments, or overseeing handymen and the staff.”
To Doucette, it’s all about giving people services.
“In a rental we make sure all the equipment works properly,” he says. “For instance, we make sure the dishwashers and microwave and stoves are properly working and safely.”
Doucette enjoys the East Side neighborhood, especially how it offers great schools for his three children, an 11-year-old son and six-year-old, boy-girl twins.
During his time off, Doucette puts the focus on family.
“We’re Disney people,” he says. So that means every summer they make their way to Orlando, Florida for 10 days, “no matter how hot it is.” This year, because of construction at Disney World, they went to Legoland, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando.
On their way back they took the auto-train, in order to stop in Washington, D.C. Doucette, a history buff, got to see the Pentagon, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
His interests include nostalgia for the Queens neighborhood where he grew up, including the site of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. He says he has happy childhood memories.
These days he serves as the president of Metropolitan Building Manager’s of New York Club, for resident managers. The group has about 150 members. They meet regularly at local bars, and talk about issues that pertain to their jobs. They organize events, too, including a golf outing and a holiday party. Any remaining funds they donate to charitable organizations, which have included Toys for Tots, Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude’s.
This year, however, Doucette wanted the charity of choice to be one that resonated deeply and personally with members of the club. The selection: a charity to benefit group homes for people with autism, suggested by another member.
“Since we’re handy, we have the ability to help these group homes,” he says.
“Besides just putting money on the table, we’ll paint rooms, and do whatever handy work they might need.”