Jerry’s office, decorated with old license plates and abandoned bee hives, is located deep in Parking Ramp 1, but his work takes place primarily outside—tending to the trees, flowers, and other aspects of the landscape surrounding University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Meet Jerry Liska, supervisor, plant services hospital grounds.
What is your job?
“I supervise outside grounds personnel, so I have five guys outside and two ladies inside taking care of the plants, so I basically oversee everything that happens outside whether it be snow removal, trees, planting, flowers, and some construction.”
Where are you from?
“I’m originally from the Riverside area, but I live in Kalona. I live on my wife’s family farm in the middle of nowhere. I like it, it’s quiet, and nobody bothers you. I like to be outside; I enjoy it.”
What’s your favorite part of your job here?
“Every single day is different, not a single day is the same. You get to deal with the elements outside, so it could be raining, it could be snowing, it could be miserable outside, but nothing’s ever the same. You never know what you’re going to get into.”
When you’re not at work, what kinds of things do you do with your time?
“I like to work out on the family farm, fixing a lot of buildings. I like to hang out with my kids. I have two kids; one just turned 7 the other just turned 4. I drive a lot of old trucks; I drive a ’49 Chevy pickup all the time around town. I just like tinkering with old stuff.”
I understand you do a bit of cartooning, is that something you still do?
“You know, to be honest with you, I probably haven’t done that in about 8 years. With kids, I just don’t have time. It was fun when I had time to do it but my kids take up all the time. I still want to do it on the side but it takes more time than people think. It was a freelance thing, a newspaper contacted me and asked if I would submit some so I just did it on the side for giggles.”
If you could have any other job in UI Health Care, what would you want to do?
“Probably graphic art, I went to school for that. I like what I do, I like being outside and some people would kill for my job being outside, but sometimes I’m like, man, I should be using my talents.”
If you were stuck in an elevator with one person, who would you want that person to be?
Do you have any odd talents, obsessions or hobbies?
“Other than drawing, I used to bull ride. For talents, I’m mechanically inclined. I’m a leftie.”