Behind the Uniform: Andrew Briggs

Andrew Briggs, beloved custodian of Pratt Hall, is approaching his 10th year at the College. Grace Flaherty/Photo editor.
Andrew Briggs, beloved custodian of Pratt Hall, is approaching his 10th year at the College. Grace Flaherty/Photo editor.

Andrew Briggs begins his shift as a custodian at 5:30 a.m. every weekday. Briggs is a Berkshire native who has lived in this area for all of his life. Before coming to the College, Briggs worked in different mills. “I’m giving up my age here,” Briggs joked, “but where MASS MoCA [Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art] is now used to be the Sprague Electric Company. They made capacitors and stuff, and I used to work there.” Because of global changes in the electronics industry from advancements in high-tech electronics and competition from cheaper components produced overseas, the electric mill was sold.It was moved to a different location, and eventually shut down in 1985.

Briggs then got a job at Excelsior Printing in North Adams, where he produced high-end stationery. While working at Excelsior, 15 years ago, Briggs received an opportunity to work at the College in a part-time position. He declined the offer. However, Briggs received another chance to work at the College five years later, and he decided to accept it. March 6 marks Briggs’s 10th year of working at the College.

“It was an ideal time to come work at Williams when I first started,” Briggs said. “They were talking about going out of business at the mill. I asked if they could guarantee me that I would have a job there until I retire. They said no, so I came here.”

Briggs now works as a custodian in Mission Park’s Pratt entries. What he enjoys most is interacting with students.

“I’m a pretty social guy,” he said. “When I meet the students here, I try getting to know where they’re from, what it’s like in their [home] country and how they are liking it here.”

Briggs sometimes stays in touch with the students he has met through his job, although it is difficult at times because they are young graduates starting a new life. He sometimes bumps into them during Homecoming, however, and appreciates the chance to catch up.

Briggs also has memorable stories about certain students. One of them is Tom Hester ’11, who was a pitcher on the  baseball team. After graduating from the College, Hester, with his friend and fellow pitcher, Wilson Barr ’11, moved to San Francisco to start a brewery. “Their company is called TWP [TW Pitchers’ Co.], and I think that’s one of the most memorable things I can say,” Briggs said.

Briggs also remembers getting to know the sons of Catharine Hill ’76, former department head of economics and provost as well as former president of Vassar. It was an amazing experience for Briggs to learn about Hill’s legacy at the College as one of the first female graduates.

Having worked in both Williams Hall and Mission, Briggs prefers the latter because of the building’s setup, which allows him to come into contact with many more students. If you get a chance to meet Briggs, whom students know as Andy, don’t be afraid to say hello. After all, Briggs said of his aspirations at the College, “I just hope that I am able to keep doing my job and meeting new students.”