Sometimes it seems like Mike Keenon can handle anything. After working in a multitude of industries, he has perfected skills that could be useful anywhere. As doorperson at 777 North Michigan Ave., he seems to have found the place where they all fit perfectly.
“It’s a very nice building,” he said. “One-hundred percent of the people here, you enjoy being around.”
Born and raised in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, Keenon started his career refurbishing desks for a company that made office furniture. He got the job “right after” graduating from Chicago Vocational Career Academy. “Carpentry was something I really enjoyed,” he said.
From there, he managed quality control at a die casting facility that made transmission parts for vehicle manufacturers like Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Caterpillar. He remained with the company for 19 years, and then it downsized and moved Germany. So he moved on to a completely new industry.
“One of my mother’s best friends asked my mother if she thought I would mind helping take of her husband, who was suffering form Alzheimers,” he said. “I ended up taking home health care classes at Catholic Charities. I got certified and ended up using the same techniques on my mother before she passed.”
While studying at Catholic Charities, Keenon frequently spent time with a friend who was also the mail carrier at 777 N. Michigan. “After classes, I would walk over there and he and I would have lunch,” he said. “They told me about the doorperson job, and that was that.”
Six years into the position, Keenon has come to regard the residents as his favorite part of the job. “I really like the different personalities and the different people who you meet on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s really interesting.” As far as the building is concerned, he says that the rooftop pool is one of the most peaceful places in the city.
At home, Keenon enjoys playing pool and digging into his movie collection, which contains about 3,000 Blue Rays and DVDs. Although he says that, “I like to watch them once and go to the next movie,” a few films that get second runs. Among them are “Cooley High” and old gangster classics starring the likes of Edward G Robinson and James Cagney. “When I go back,” he said, “I like to notice things I didn’t notice the first time around.
The only thing he seems to like better than movies are his son and a daughter who he calls, “my pride and joy.”