According to Human Resources, there are at least 17 married couples working at the City of Gastonia. Did employment with the City bring these couples together? What are the advantages or disadvantages of working at the same place as your spouse? Four of the couples were willing to share what it’s like to be married to a coworker.
For Transit employees Anthony and Maureen “Mo” Marks-Diew, working together at the City has been a plus for their marriage. Anthony, who’s been a bus driver for 5½ years, and Mo, who’s been an ADA transporter for 3½ years, met through mutual friends before coming to work for the City. Tony encouraged Mo to apply for the transit job and they got married 1½ years ago. They have six children together by previous relationships.
Mo said they sometimes end up on the same shift or work together on Saturdays for overtime. “My husband and I are really best friends so it is very easy to work with him,” she said. “At work, even though we are married, we are individuals and we act professionally.” While they don’t talk about work much after hours, Mo said that working at the same job can be an advantage, because they can give each other advice about the job.
Cupid has visited the Transit Department more than once. Eric and Chris Owens also met while both were working in the Transit Department. Chris, who’s been with the City five years, is an ADA transporter and Eric, who’s been with the City six years, was a bus driver when they fell in love and married. Right before they were married two years ago, Eric transferred to the wastewater treatment division in Public Works and is now a wastewater treatment operator at the Crowders Creek plant.
Chris said when they both worked in Transit, she and Eric worked together daily. Now that Eric is in wastewater treatment, coordinating family time – vacations, doctors’ appointments and family functions – is a little more challenging because they’re on different shifts. They have one son, Jacob, and a grandson, Brentley. “We occasionally see one another before his shift change and after mine,” Chris said. “More often than not, it’s on my way home from work and on his way to work. We’ll pass one another on Highway 321 and wave at one another. It’s challenging being on opposite shifts, but we make it work!”
Eric noted one advantage of them working for the City is that they have the same benefits and they can share and discuss their daily work experiences. And Chris added another plus: “We both love our jobs.”
Dale and Beth Helton are one of the longest-married City couples. In April, they will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary. Beth has worked for the City of Gastonia for 20 years, currently in Public Works as the cemetery administrator. Dale is an auto mechanic in Enterprise Services and has been a City employee for seven years.
The couple has two children, one grandchild and another grandchild on the way.
Joe and Beverly Bieker have also been married for 23 years. Beverly is chief information officer in Technology Services and Joe is a construction engineer and right-of-way administrator. They have two children, Taylor, 26, and Katie, 22.
They met and got to know each other in after-work social outings with coworkers. Because Beverly’s job has her interacting with employees in all departments, she and Joe have ended up working on several projects together. Joe’s office was actually in the Tech Services building, where Beverly works, for several years.
They agree that being married and working together requires focus. Beverly said when she’s working with Joe, “I have to be conscious that I react in a business manner and not from a personal perspective.” And like a true, long-term partner, Joe completed her thought. “In other words, we have to both remember to be our business titles during work and spouses away from work.”
Beverly said talking about work at home can distract from their personal time together. “There have been many conversations about work after hours that consume our personal time,” she said, but at least, “conversations about work are quick because we are familiar with the staff. For better or worse, it’s a major part of our shared lives,” she said.