After 12 years of working at RIT, Cedric Bowen knows campus like it’s the back of his hand.
Bowen, a Rochester native, was hired as a custodian by Facilities Management Services in October 2004, a job that he said allowed him to connect with an assortment of people throughout each day. After seven years working with FMS, Bowen decided to move to Parking and Transportation Services, and he’s been working as a parking officer since 2011.
“As a member of the custodial staff, I did a lot of the cleaning in the SAU, which was great because it’s a central meeting point, so I’d run into people from all walks of life,” Bowen said. “I’d sit and talk with students every day. I was a friend, but now I’m the ‘bad guy.’”
When Bowen made the switch, he knew his job would change. Parking officers give tickets, part of the job Bowen didn’t look forward to doing.
“I think that people turn on their imaginations when they’re thinking about us parking officers,” said Bowen. “They picture us hiding in the bushes, waiting to strike. The truth is, that I don’t really like giving out tickets. It’s just part of the job.”
In fact, it’s a rather small part of the job, Bowen said.
While Bowen spends a portion of his work day patrolling a handful of RIT’s many parking lots, he said that it’s the responsibilities that he takes on when he isn’t ticketing that make his work worthwhile.
“It’s the service side of the job that I find to be the most rewarding,” said Bowen. “I’ve moved students into their dorm rooms. I’ve taken blind people to the grocery store, given international students rides to the airport and deaf students rides to the bank. If you’re running late to a class, I’ll pick you up and get you there. Those are the things that I excel at, not giving out tickets.”
Colette Shaw, assistant director of the Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, called Bowen “one of those people who is always glowing.”
“He’s incredibly friendly in his job, but he’s also very engaged as a citizen of RIT,” Shaw said. “He brings genuine happiness to everyone that he meets.”
Bowen describes himself as a people person and a family man at heart. He and his wife of 16 years have five children, with twins on the way. Bowen said he gets energy from interactions with others.
“When the sun comes out, it just shines. It doesn’t pick or choose who it shines on, it just does,” said Bowen. “That’s what I try to do in this job, just shine on everybody, whether they like it or not.”
Job title: Parking and Transportation Officer
Years at RIT: 12
What I like best about working at RIT: The possibility of growth. What RIT already is, and what it can grow to be.
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