Longtime carpenter, experienced supervisor looking forward to the challenge
Dennis Zullo walked around the foundation of Henley Middle School’s new classroom building, inspecting progress of the work so far and discussing plans with a contractor, which include pouring concrete for the foundation as soon as next week.
Zullo, who has worked for the Klamath County School District since 2014, took the reins as the district’s new project manager and maintenance supervisor last month. He replaces Justin Azevedo, who moved from the area for new opportunities.
Klamath County School District Superintendent Glen Szymoniak said Zullo is the right person to lead the district’s maintenance department.
“It is refreshing to see the level of experience and enthusiasm that Dennis brings to the position of project manager,” he said. “Our maintenance department has a reputation for doing excellent work and Dennis is determined to continue that tradition in our future projects. There is much work ahead to have all of our facilities become safe, healthy learning environments.”
A carpenter by trade, Zullo worked for 22 years at a local construction company, including 12 years as a construction supervisor and project manager, before taking a position as a carpenter with the district four years ago. For Zullo, the project manager job represents a new challenge and opportunity, and he is excited lead the maintenance crew he has worked with for the past several years.
“I like the environment. I like the people I work with. Everyone has such a great attitude,” he said of the district’s 14-member crew. “To be a part of something like this (crew) is unreal. We have such craftsmen within the department.”
The district’s crew includes three carpenters, two concrete finishers, two plumbers, two electricians and a HVAC specialist. Along with major projects such as Henley’s new classroom building, Zullo plans to focus on upgrading existing schools’ HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems.
“We want to make the schools we have better,” he said. “They’ve been neglected over the years, and we’ve been playing catch up.”
Mark Greif, human resources director for the Klamath County School District, has known Zullo for more than 20 years.
“Dennis is no stranger to working with the school district as he has been involved previously on a number of projects in our schools, most notably the geo thermal retrofit at Henley High School,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for him as a person and as a professional.”
Henley’s new classroom building is the largest project in the district right now. It will include restrooms and four new classrooms, and is the second of three such additions planned in the district.
The first, a six-classroom project, opened at Peterson Elementary School in September. Henley’s classrooms should be ready for students by the time school starts next fall, and then construction will start on a similar project at Stearns Elementary School.
Other projects include finishing installation of new LED lighting at Mazama High School, and fixing outside drainage issues and updating HVAC controls at Shasta Elementary School. District-wide, HVAC systems are being updated with controls that allow the district’s crew to monitor any issues from a central location at the district office, Zullo said.
Crews recently finished a remodel of a building on the Mazama High School campus that will serve as a student health clinic. The clinic, which opened earlier this month, is operated by Klamath Open Door.
The district crew’s immediate goal is to frame as much of the Henley Middle School classroom building as possible before consistent wintry weather and cold temperatures set in, Zullo said. The crew can then spend the winter working on the inside of the structure.
Zullo spent some of his childhood years in Chiloquin after his father, who was in the Air Force, decided to build a house in the area. Zullo and his brother helped his father with the project and Zullo attended area schools through his junior year. The family moved, and he attended and graduated in 1986 from Homestead High School in California before returning to Klamath County.