Tucked away in the back of the Facilities Department is the campus lock shop and the man who holds the keys to the kingdom that is Sonoma State--Mark Utarid.
Judging by the decorated workspace it is easy to see that Mark is definitely a fan of both cars and basketball. Cards of former players are neatly adhered to his desk and images of speeding cars fill the majority of empty wall space.
Although Mark has made this space his own, work is also done around the clock. Mark is in and out, sometimes making 10 to 15 service calls a day as a locksmith for Sonoma State's Facilities/Lock Shop Department. At times he has made up to 50 service calls in a single day.
To help him do his job, tools of the trade are scattered around the shop; on hand are safety vests, lock diagrams, and more keys than one could carry on a single ring. Lucky for SSU, Mark has Lobo and the rest of the Seawolves covered should anyone find themselves locked out of one of the 18,500 locks currently on campus.
While under the general supervision of John Duke, director of facilities operation and engineering, Mark is responsible for the installation, maintenance, and remodeling of manual and automated locks, alongside other lock systems and security devices on campus. In addition, Mark is also responsible for tasks relating to automated doors, campus safes, and key creation, as well as the three residential card kiosks scattered around campus.
Since becoming a locksmith at SSU, he has found that Sonoma State is like a "small city" containing varying locks and personalities. While the work may be challenging, it is also rewarding. Mark says without a doubt his greatest accomplishment was being awarded the Governor Safety Award from the California Department of General Services for his efforts in putting out a fire near a campus building while on duty to change out a lockset.
In addition to the locking systems now used, Mark said, "We are also about to gain access to the new Student Center which will be another new system to learn." The Student Center will feature a locking system boasting an online server for electronic locks allowing remote access to diagnosis and repair electronic locks. "High technology is now part of every major locking system in the world. SSU is in its early stages of taking on these systems for the future," says Mark.
Mark Utarid grew up in Forestville, CA, and attended El Molino High School. He earned his A.A. in Communications from Santa Rosa Junior College and plans to finish his B.A. in Communication Studies at Sonoma State in the near future. He also holds a Locksmith Certificate from the Bay Area School of Locksmithing in Redwood City, CA. Interestingly, in order to become locksmith for the State of California, Mark was subject to extensive background checks from Homeland Security and registration with the California Bureau of Investigative Services.
When not working, Mark is the SSU Lacrosse team advisor arranging travel itineraries and reserving spaces for film review and other team activities. He is passionate about coaching and refereeing youth basketball and also enjoys spending time working out, staying healthy, and being outside.
"The outdoors is a great place for me to relax. Growing up in Sonoma County has made me appreciate this great place to live and work," he said. Mark also enjoys hiking with his 100 lb. Siberian Husky, Shasta, who according to him is "an awesome sea wolf."
- Doug Arias