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Davis Journal

Matern’s hard work and wealth of knowledge serves the DCSO well

Feb 01, 2021 09:36AM ● By Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—Overseeing maintenance for a correctional facility is a big job, but for Mitch Matern it’s all in a day’s work. Matern is the Davis County Justice Complex Maintenance Manager and for the last 30 years he’s been making sure that everything runs smoothly.

“He was working for the construction company that built this complex,” said Davis County Sheriff Kelly Sparks. “He did such a great job and had such a good relationship with the county they lured him in. He’s been here since the first hole was dug in the ground.”

Mitch does an amazing job, Sparks said. “We’re known for having a nice, clean, well maintained jail because of his attention to detail. Even inmates say they’ve never been to a jail so clean and well maintained. That’s a huge compliment to what Mitch does.”

Sparks said Matern also oversees the grounds and everything mechanical that’s done inside. “He does the budget, makes sure equipment is replaced when needed, gets bids and determines what’s purchased.”

He’s the de facto project manager of construction, said Sparks. “During the jail expansion in 2007 and now with the medical observation wing, he arranged for all the contractors, architects and developed the proposals.”

It’s a super complex job, Sparks said. “It takes such a depth of knowledge. Plus there are a lot of things in a jail that might not be in other facilities like security locks, cameras and protocols. Mitch has been a gem at doing all of that.”

In addition to his regular duties, Matern has taken the time to mentor his employees as well as the inmates, he said. “It’s not really part of his job. He just cares about people and they have respect for him and his humility. He makes connections in the jail. He’s not assigned to it, it’s just who he is.”

Capt. Susan Poulsen has been Matern’s immediate supervisor for several years. “He’s somebody’s whose work ethic is greater than I’ve ever worked with. This is a challenging place for maintenance of every piece of equipment in the complex, which is a lot.”

Every morning he has a briefing, she said. “He trains and teaches every one of his employees every detail so they have the ability to step in and manage the complex as if he’d left. He’s not threatened by that he has the mindset of what’s good for the complex.”

During the windstorm he put himself in harm’s way, she said. “The roof started to detach and he went up there in hurricane force winds to secure the roof from further damage. It was blowing him sideways as he put sandbags on the roof. He’s the one who keeps us safe around here.”

Mitch treats everyone with respect, said Poulsen. “He’s truly earned the respect of every person here – even the inmates. His word is gold. He’s a wonderful employee and a joy to work with.”