After working for almost half a century, Pankaj Daiya is finally ready to call it a day.
The director of maintenance and facilities for the Bartow County School System will be retiring June 30 after working almost 13 years for the district.
“I have been working continuously since September 1974 – almost 46 years – and I am turning 70 December 2020,” he said.
A native of Mumbai, India, Daiya said he will miss “meeting and working with people” once he no longer has to report to the office every day.
“I enjoyed working with various contractors during the building of new schools as well as renovating existing schools,” he said. “I also worked with talented maintenance technicians, school principals and administrative staff.”
While Daiya had some thoughts on what he wanted to do after retiring, that might have to be altered, at least temporarily.
“Initially, the plans were to spend time with family and travel, but we’ll have to wait and see with COVID-19,” he said.
The Acworth resident said it was “a pleasure” to work with the school system’s last three superintendents, Dr. Abbe Boring, Dr. John Harper and Dr. Phillip Page, and also expressed his gratitude to the Bartow County voters for approving the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
“Without SPLOST, all the improvements completed for children’s education – new buildings, renovations, additions – would not be possible,” he said. “Thanks again, citizens of Bartow County.”
Before coming to Bartow, Daiya worked as an engineering manager in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries and was employed by the
Whitfield County School System’s construction department, where he renovated existing schools and built new schools.
In August 2007, he was hired as the director of operations for the Bartow system, then had maintenance added to his responsibilities in early 2008 and construction added in 2011.
During Daiya’s 13 years with the system, he saw four new schools built – Cloverleaf Elementary, Adairsville Middle, Emerson Elementary and Adairsville Elementary – and renovations and additions completed at four existing schools – White Elementary, Hamilton Crossing Elementary, Kingston Elementary and Woodland High’s Performing Arts Center.
New lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning renovations also were completed at Cass and Woodland middle schools and Allatoona, Kingston and Taylorsville elementary schools.
“The most expensive project was Adairsville Middle School at approximately $23 million,” Daiya said. “This project included site procurement – already procured when design was commenced – design development and finalization, site development, construction, commissioning and startup.”
Chief Leadership and Learning Officer Clint Terza said the system is “extremely grateful for Mr. Daiya’s contributions to our school community.”
“He should be proud of his accomplishments here, as they’ll be visible for years to come through many state-of-the-art schools in Bartow County,” he said.
Page said he appreciated Daiya’s “commitment to our school system.”
“One of his projects I’m particularly impressed with is the opening of the new Adairsville Elementary School,” he said.
Besides the new and renovated schools, Daiya also has witnessed a number of other changes within the district since being employed there.
“The changes I have seen are one-to-one computers for students, new transportation shop with bus wash and four bus lifts, conversion of old Cass High School to a college and career academy, artificial turf on high school football fields and new tracks at the high schools,” he said. “All elementary school gyms are air-conditioned now as well as by July 2020, all kitchens will be air-conditioned.”
Daiya holds a Master of Science in chemical engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
He and his wife, Chanda, who also is retired, have two children, Shilpa and Sandeep, and two grandchildren.
The maintenance and construction chief will be recognized for his work with the system at the Bartow County School System Retirement Luncheon July 27, according to Page.