With a significant facility transformation underway at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, visitors are sometimes surprised to see a female carpenter with a tool belt walking the hospital’s halls.
Angela De Christopher is a licensed carpenter and is used to being the only woman on a work crew. Before joining the hospital staff, the Burr Ridge resident spent 18 years as a union carpenter.
On many job sites, De Christopher was the only woman around. In that sense, being the only female member among the hospital’s facilities staff is not unusual.
Working in a hospital setting, with women traditionally making up much of the nursing and hospital staff, has been a refreshing change for De Christopher.
“That’s one of the many reasons I enjoy working at this hospital so much,” she said. “There are so many other women around the building.”
De Christopher celebrates her fifth year with GlenOaks Hospital this month.
“There’s no doubt that her experience is very important,” said Rich Roehr, assistant vice president of administrative services. “When there is work to be done on a unit, Angie takes the lead in putting together the structure of what everything will look like.”
When De Christopher joined the crew, her hiring surprised a few people, Roehr said. But her carpentry skills were excellent. Today, she is one of the most highly respected members of the team.
“She has taught the rest of the team a great deal about carpentry,” Roehr said. “She has molded into that team like no other.”
Even before De Christopher joined the staff, she had experience with the building. She was on the contract crew that built the new emergency department, a project completed in 2007.
“When I was driving up the morning of my interview, I came down the street and I thought to myself, ‘This looks so familiar,’” De Christopher said. “It wasn’t until I turned the corner that it all started coming back to me.”
She’s been busy since that first day. De Christopher and the rest of the building staff have helped update the hospital as it goes through a series of renovations to its patient-facing areas.
Among the projects she has completed are a rebuild of the hospital’s medical records department, the medical staff office and the respiratory care department, Roehr said. She has also built updated waiting areas for the hospital’s lab and radiology departments.
“She’s framing the room, hanging the drywall, hanging ceiling grids, laying down floors,” Roehr said. “She will refinish doors, build furniture and countertops for us. She does a lot of custom work.”
While the work she does transforming spaces at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital is very visible, De Christopher is quick to point out that she is only one part of a crew that makes those projects possible. Behind the walls she puts up are the pipes, electrical work and other systems that keep the hospital humming, and other members of the crew install all that before she finishes off a room.
“It takes a lot of us together to make it look good,” she said. “It’s a whole team.”
De Christopher is correct, Roehr said. But the opposite is also true. Without her work, the rest of the crew could not do its job, either.
“Angie has exemplified the mission that we live every day of extending the healing ministry of Christ,” Roehr said. “She’s highly respected. You mention her name, and everyone knows her and respects the great work she does here.”