Swigert values small-town living in Coshocton

| August 8, 2018

Gene Swigert is pictured with his wife, Tiffany, and their two boys, Camden and Briar.

COSHOCTON – Gene Swigert was working at RockTenn when the factory permanently closed its doors.

“I had a day where, I knew the transition was coming, and it was probably the worst day of my life,” said Swigert. “I had a job in Zanesville, but I didn’t feel like that was right, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I got a phone call from a guy I hadn’t talked to in about five years, Tim Keirns [of Frontier Power], and he said to me, I hear you’re looking for a job. I want you to come down and talk to me Monday morning. So in the midst of my worst day, God sends me that phone call. I know in my gut that this is going to happen. Probably four to five days later, I had a job where I was staying in Coshocton.”

Swigert started his job at Frontier Power in December 2015 as a warehouse manager where he supplies the lineman and right of way crew with the supplies they need to serve the community.

Swigert graduated from Coshocton High School in 1997 and attended OUZ/MATC for a few years before returning to Coshocton to work at Pretty Products in 1999. While at Pretty Products, he managed the warehouse, taking care of the supplies needed by employees and making sure they had the proper personal protection equipment.

After Pretty Products closed, Swigert worked at Clow’s for 13 months before taking a position at RockTenn where he received training for his boiler operation license.

“It really shaped the person I have become today, going from job to job,” said Swigert. “Especially the experience I’ve gained and the people I’ve met along the way.”

With the closing of RockTenn, Swigert said he was sure everything would work out.

“I have an aloof personality,” he said. “I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m always looking at the big picture. I’m a ‘glass always half full’ guy. I just knew it was going to be okay.”

At RockTenn, Swigert worked swing shift where he said he made the best of the situation, but prefers day shift, which is what he works at Frontier Power. Although his job title is the warehouse manager, Swigert does a lot more than just receiving materials.

“If the employees and the front office men and women need something done, I take care of it,” he said. “I run the mail and banking every day, which is nice to be able to get to interact with other people every day.”

In addition to his job, Swigert and his family are involved in NewPointe Community Church where Swigert has been a greeter and has worked with the Velocity class, teaching between eight to 15 kids from age 3 to 13 years every week. He has also helped with parking at the church.

This is also the first year that Swigert will be coaching freshmen basketball at Coshocton High School. Previously, he was assistant coach at the school for the last three years. He played basketball in high school as a guard.

“It’s all about the kids,” he said. “Especially the freshmen who are coming in raw and you’re kind of shaping them, not only to be good basketball players, but you also want to instill in them the qualities of becoming a good person and handling responsibilities. I mean, you don’t want them to grow up too fast, but you want to instill in them good teamwork skills and the brotherhood of basketball, having each other’s back.”

Swigert said that he enjoys not only coaching the kids while they’re in school, but seeing them after graduation as well.

“I love the game of basketball,” he said. “You get really close with a lot of these kids who’ve graduated. One of the best parts of coaching is the continued conversation after graduation.”

Basketball takes a lot of hard work and dedication, especially on freshmen who may be playing on both freshmen and JV teams.

“We ask a lot of the kids who double-up,” said Swigert. “We put a lot of demand on them, but it gives them life lessons.”

Swigert’s two boys play basketball as well.

“I might be the luckiest person alive,” he said. “I married Tiffany and on Sept. 2, we will have been married for 18 years. We have two good kids. The oldest just turned 16 last Thursday and he’ll be a junior this fall. He plays soccer and basketball. The youngest is 13 and will be in eighth grade. He plays soccer and basketball also. They are great kids. I have no complaints.”

Not only goes Swigert have a love for Coshocton, but his family is deeply embedded in the community as well.

“Tiffany’s love for the county and the city, and the hardships we’ve had to go through, it’s made us who we are,” he said. “We’re so fortunate we ended up where we are at. At the end of the day, I believe everything happens for a reason. It’s God’s will. It was the best thing for me and my family.”

With Swigert’s boiler license, he had the opportunity to move to a larger city in Ohio, but chose to stay in Coshocton.

“We thought about it,” said Swigert. “We had the option to do that, but we were both born and raised here. I love the small town feel of what we have. I’ve always loved Coshocton and we’re very family-oriented. Her parents are here and my parents are here, so we wanted to be around family.”

When he’s not working, coaching, or spending time with family, Swigert likes to golf. He also used to go camping and enjoys tubing and fishing.

Through it all, Swigert believes that God has a plan for his life and took care of him and his family during the tough times.

“It is a big part of our lives,” said Swigert about his faith. “Getting through day-to-day life, let alone a job loss, it couldn’t be anything other than God the way everything played out.”

Although he doesn’t think of himself as a young professional in Coshocton County, Swigert has a goal each day to be kind to others and do the small things to make a difference in people’s lives.

“Be kind and continue to do the small things, not to get noticed, but to make a difference,” he said. “Try to smile at everybody, say hello to everybody. It’s an easier way to go about life. Smile and be kind. It might make someone’s day.”

Editor’s note: The Beacon is working with the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce to highlight young professionals in the community.

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    Category: People & Places

    Beth Scott

    About the Author ()

    I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.