By Joanna Meza
Getting ready to reenlist in the South African army, Mark Wheeler received the news that he would emigrate with his family to the United States.
Wheeler is the facilities manager at SAC and you might spot him running around campus fixing things.
Upon arriving in the U.S. in 1981, Wheeler joined the U.S. Navy because he wanted to serve his new country.
His interest in working for colleges began while working for the UC system.
While there, he started playing rugby, a sport that he grew to love as a child in South Africa. He refereed internationally, a job that took him to countries including England, Japan and the Netherlands.
When the facilities manager position became available in 2013 at SAC, Wheeler jumped at the chance to return to work in a college environment.
“At the end of the day it’s all about student success. If it’s not getting done then students aren’t getting the educational experience that they deserve,” Wheeler said.
While attending classes at UC Irvine, Wheeler took up mountain biking.
“It’s exercise, it’s beautiful out there, the weather is killer and you’re at one with nature,” Wheeler said.
A father of four girls, Wheeler and his wife are foster parents for Orange County Social Services and licensed to care for infants in need of shelter.
“We thought it would be a good form of birth control to get my daughters to experience what motherhood is like first hand.” Wheeler said. “It’s working so far.”
Wheeler, also an ordained minister, has married about 140 couples.