Billy Mercer, Park Maintenance Worker II

Billy Mercer, Park Maintenance Worker II
Posted on 11/30/2022

He knows climbing heights is part of the job but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. William “Billy” Mercer, park maintenance worker II — facilities with the Lenexa Parks and Recreation Department, conquers his fear of heights each year when he gets on a lift to string holiday lights at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park.

“It’s a rough couple of weeks for me but we get it done,” he said. “When we put the lights up for Sar-Ko Aglow, it really takes your breath away. We put up 15 miles of lights every year.”

Before coming to work for the City of Lenexa, Billy’s previous positions included being a beverage director for a local country club where he wore a suit and tie to work every day. Working 60+ hours a week and being away from family on weekends and holidays became too much. He then pursued a career in project management that eventually involved lots of travel.

“I realized the work-life balance wasn’t for me at my previous job because they kept sending me for overnight stays in other cities,” Billy said. “Hotel walls aren’t for me.”

Billy’s interest in learning different trades, combined with his background in building commercial kitchens for schools, restaurants, and retirement homes, is how he found a job with the parks department.

“I worked with my hands a lot doing plumbing and some electrical work,” he said. “That kind of sparked my interest and I started looking at different things that I could do. There were multiple trades and facility maintenance was on the top of the list.”

When he started with Lenexa Parks and Recreation in 2018, he walked onto a veteran crew.

“There were a lot of seasoned vets,” he said. “We had guys that had been here 25, 30 and 35 years. It made my life a little bit easier because they knew exactly what was going on. I was on year zero and the next closest guy was on year 15.”

After several employees retired, the dynamic of the crews changed.

“We went from the most veteran crew to the most green crew,” Billy said. “We have four new guys right now and the new ideas that flow into our group are great.”

From handling plumbing and electrical needs across Lenexa parks to maintaining pools and fountains as well as preventative maintenance, park maintenance workers do a little bit of everything. Their creative juices come to life when building special displays for Enchanted Forest and Sar-Ko Aglow.

“The skeletons [at Enchanted Forest] that are lifelike and moving, they don’t just come like that,” Billy said. “We put motors on them and make them move the way they do.”

Billy Mercer posing with crew inside the Lenexa Rec Center. And Billy working at Black Hoof Park.

His favorite aspect of the job? Being part of new construction projects. This season, Billy has been at Black Hoof Park gearing up for the 18-hole traditional disc golf course as well as a nine-hole short course that is family friendly.

“Our crew is doing everything from bench pads and tee pads to putting in landscape stairs for the course,” Billy said. “It’s a full team effort.”

The team functions well because they all share a common goal.

“We make sure everything is great for Lenexa and the residents,” he said. “Our crew is so tight knit that we make everything fun. We could be lifting 400-pound stones as a team but we’re laughing and being safe at the same time.”

Being a valued employee, who is well trained for the job, is what keeps Billy working for the City.

“The difference for me is I’m home every night and I’m learning multiple trades,” he said. “The City has provided a lot of opportunities for me to improve my skills.”

Billy has attended courses for aquatics-related job responsibilities, including learning how to be a facility operator and learning cross connection controls and backflow prevention for water distribution. He obtained a commercial driver’s license and in January 2023, he will start a two-year maintenance school program as well as complete a certification to become a playground safety inspector.

Billy Mercer with his wife Brooke and their two sons.Outside of work, Billy enjoys spending time with his wife, Brooke, and their two boys, David and Whit. They enjoy outdoor adventures like camping, fishing, and playing sports. They recently purchased 23 acres of land in Paola, Kan., and are in the process of building their dream home.

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Published Nov. 30, 2022