We had the chance to catch up with Mr. Mark McLaughlin, a critical figure here at Malvern. You might not know it, but it’s because of his hard work that many things at Malvern run so smoothly.
What is exactly is your job here at Malvern?
I’m part of the maintenance department. Also, I work at the Duffy Center. I handle some of the technical things and help out for the shows and events that we have in the evening.
What got you involved in the shows?
I have a performance background. I played in a band for years and did sound at different shows, so I have a little bit of knowledge about some theatrical stuff. When they built the new building [Duffy Center], I thought there may be a need for some help. I just offered to help out.
What did you do before coming here to Malvern?
I worked in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for 20 years. I started out in the machine shop, and then I was quality control. We inspected materials the Navy brought in from outside vendors.
How did you end up here?
Well they closed the shipyard in 1995. I knew the guy who was head of maintenance here. He offered me a job and I thought I would stay here for a couple months until I found a new job, but I will have been here for 20 years now this May.
Did you grow up around here?
I grew up in Upper Darby, Delaware County. I have two sons, one graduated from Malvern in 2003 and another son went to Bonner. That’s where I went.
What do you like most about working at Malvern?
Just that everyone is so friendly. It’s kind of a family atmosphere.
You said you were in a band. What was that like?
We started the band in high school and then played on and off for a couple years. In the 80’s we were able to be in a project where we got some local airplay got to play some gigs. It was fun.
What instruments do you play? How did you learn?
I play the piano, I took lessons for a few years in grade school and I have a ukulele at home that I’m trying to learn.
What kind of music do you like playing the most?
I’ll play anything, all kind of rock-based.
What’s your favorite band?
I listen to a lot of stuff but I think my go-to band would be the Rolling Stones.
You work with the Lighting & Sound team for theatre productions at Malvern. What has it been like working with students?
I enjoy working with students. It’s great to see them working as a team, problem solving and encouraging each other. I’m always learning something from them and hopefully they’re learning a little from me.
In twenty years at Malvern, what have seen as some of the biggest changes?
When I started here the O’Neil Center and the Duffy center had not even been thought about yet. The pool was in Alumni, the cafeteria was in the basement of Sullivan, Stewart Hall was a gym, we had a library, nobody used email and Mr. Duda had a full head of hair.
What has been your favorite show in the Duffy Center, and why?
Probably The Laramie Project. It was a story that needed to be told and it was told in a very unique way.
What character from Grease are you most like, and why?
Good question, I’m gonna say Danny. Danny isn’t as cool as he thinks he is. Everybody thinks Sandy changed for him but really Sandy changed Danny even more. My wife and I dated in high school so I can relate to their story.