Former employee remembered

Mike West leaves fond memories

Nick Campbell , @TheNCExperience

At LMC, the instructors and professors are but one part of the equation in which this well-oiled machine of a college operates. Behind the scenes are countless and dedicated LMC employees known as classified professionals. They are the colleagues of your faculty and professors who help the college function.

These professionals belong to the Public Employees Union, Local 1. Mike West, the former President of that union and LMC classified alumni, recently passed away. West was a fierce advocate and warrior for his team of classified employees who retired from the Contra Costa Community College District about two years ago.

He was employed with the district for over 28 years. West was a CCCCD Unit President for 10 years and the Local 1 President for two years. West is credited with helping to implement the classified senate during his term. His long tenure and accomplished career was noted by current Local 1 President Winston Ingram, who, via the Union website states:

“He was an extremely hard worker who touched so many lives here at Local 1. He will be missed by all.”

West’s reputation for his dedication precedes him and it’s evident by the impression he left on his former colleagues. In an email to college faculty, LMC President Bob Kratochvil recalls, “Mike was dedicated to his work and passionate about advocating for and supporting the classified professionals he represented.”

Locally, those who knew West and worked with him fondly recall his pursuits and advocacy. Sandra Mills, with CORE, specifically recalls his serious work ethic and high energy. “Sometimes he’d remind me of a Tasmanian Devil running around here, he had so much energy,” said Mills.

Despite retiring to Reno, Nevada in 2017 and enjoying his favorite pastimes of bingo or cards, his presence is still felt. People who emulate his work and even continue to work for causes he fought for miss him. According to his peers, West was often the person people will be compared to in the future.

“Wherever Mike is right now, I can imagine he’s whipping management into shape and probably starting a Union,” said Mills.

West’s dedication to his work has been the consistent theme surrounding his tenure with the college and district respectively. But he was not just a colleague to Mills, they became good friends over the years. Mills recalls being at LMC for most of her adult life, by her estimation 19-20 years. During her tenure, West had an enduring presence. By all accounts, his friendship will be missed just as much as his leadership.