When the end of June comes, one of Grayson County’s most prominent employees will be hanging up his clipboard. Purchasing Agent Jeff Schneider will retire after 28 and a half years with the county.
Schneider’s career with the county began in December of 1990, and just one of his claims to fame has been his work as the head elf at Grayson County Holiday Lights in charge of making sure the displays work properly and purchasing new ones.
“It’s been a great 28-and-a-half-year career,” Schneider said in a written statement. “I’ve worked with many great people over the years and I will remember my time here with great fondness.”
While Schneider can list a number of things that he incorporated into the business world at Grayson County, the thing that many of his colleagues mention most about their work with him is his willingness to help others.
“Jeff was so helpful when I became commissioner and did not understand all the government purchasing rules and regulations,” said Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James. “He sat me down and we had purchasing 101! He has always been available to answer my questions and help me navigate the purchases of new equipment.”
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers called Schneider the consummate professional.
“He listens to what you are trying to accomplish, follows the rules, but also strives to put the county’s interests first and make sure that all parties are treated fairly,” Magers said before praising the way Schneider worked with and treated his county co-workers.
“I will miss his dry wit and his ability to provide a different point of view when we assess business situations. He tells you what he thinks, not what you want to hear,” Magers said.
Grayson County’s senior — in terms of years on the bench — commissioner David Whitlock said he never expected that he and the purchasing agent would become anything more than just colleagues.
Whitlock said he is, “so proud to call him (Schneider) my friend and roping partner. After 30 plus years of not roping, Jeff talked me in to going to a practice with him. That’s been 1o years now and we still rope together and talk about our grandchildren.”
Whitlock called Schneider, the most loving grandfather and sincere family man he has ever met.
During his tenure at the courthouse, the county has gone from snail mail to email and from getting the first fax machine to high-speed internet.
“I’ve worked with many great people over the years and will remember my time here with great fondness,’ Schneider said when asked about his retirement.
He said it will be those people that he will miss the most as he walks away from the job of purchasing for the county.
“We’re like family and it’s been a great place to work,” he said. “To see it evolve from typing the checks on an IBM typewriter to the electronic age, has been fun. I won’t miss having my schedule dictated. I’m looking forward to the next phase of life that I can be where I want to be and when. My only boss with be that wonderful wife of mine, who’s been bossing me for 46 years already.”
The county was hardly Schneider’s first job though.
“I was involved on procurement and contracts in the construction and construction equipment industries,” he talked about his time before Grayson County. “I was on five projects in the States, then moved overseas to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and China.”
As for what he plans to do after retirement, Schneider said he is, “Planning to ride my horse roping steers, hunting, fishing and traveling. I want to see more of the United States. One of our first trips will be the Dakotas and Montana area. That and my wife has plenty of ‘honey dos’ for me! Sandra and I are both involved in working with Habitat for Humanity.”
Schneider said one of the hardest projects during his time with the county was the latest jail expansion.
“We ended up in arbitration with the architect and general contractor. Seemed like endless meetings with arbitrators, lawyers, and the architect which got pretty heated,” he explained.
The most interesting project, he recalled, was the rural mapping and addressing. He said getting the GPS coordinates for all the roads and houses throughout the county had a lot of complications.
Schneider said the most gratifying project of his career with the county was a bright one.
“It’s been nothing short of great to work with Judge Groff and the other founders of Holiday Lights over the years,” he said. “The county staff have really joined together to put up the displays and account for the donations. The community support has been fantastic making Holiday Lights one of the most loved events in the county. I’ve never heard of a situation where you ask for volunteers to work nights handing out candy and collecting donations, and have to turn some people down because we have to many!”