For Frank Shaw, a porter at the Nathan Hale Co-Op in Forest Hills, Queens, his job hardly seems like work. His commitment to his job has earned him Outerborough Residential Worker of the Year by 32BJ.
“The most rewarding part of the job is that I enjoy what I do,” Shaw says. “I like the people that surround me. We get along good. It’s like a little family here.”
This work is evident, as the building has a reputation for its cleanliness and aesthetic appeal. You might find Shaw the basement, arranging the compactor room, vacuuming, or maintaining the lawn and foliage on the property.
“When you come to work you give 110 percent,” he says. “Show the boss that you’re here not just to work, but to work hard.”
Shaw, 62, has lived in New York his entire life, growing up in Manhattan. He was 21 when he started working at The Balfour, just a few streets from the Nathan Hale Co-Op, as a doorman. He then worked for a moving company, but returned to the Balfour realizing that it would be a better career move. When the job opportunity at the nearby Nathan Hale Co-Op arose, he was eager to take it.
His commute, which begins at 4:30 a.m. from his home in the Bronx, is time-consuming, but he makes sure to arrive to work early. He attributes his success as a porter to what he says is his composure — and a strong work ethic.
“You need to have a good attitude. Sometimes people come downstairs and they’re having a bad day or just aren’t happy, so sometimes you got to be strong enough and brush it off your shoulders and keep going. You can’t let them take you out of your rhythm,” he says.
Upon learning that he was being honored by 32BJ, he was overwhelmed by feelings of both excitement and disbelief. Shaw regards the union highly, and tries his best to maintain an active role in their events and meetings.
“I go to all meetings and all functions with the union if I can,” Shaw says. “I attend mostly everything they offer because I know they will be there to help me when I need them.”
Though he reflects upon his years as a porter at the Nathan Hale Co-op fondly, he is looking to further his career in the world of residential property. Shaw has been applying and interviewing for several concierge jobs within Manhattan, and hopes to bring his experience as both a doorman and a porter to any new position the future might hold.