Release Date: Feb 22, 2023

SHELTON, WA – Maintenance Technician Zachary Smith takes his roles at Mason Health very seriously, whether he is working as the administrative lead on the District’s humidity and temperature monitoring program or leading safety efforts, such as fire drills, throughout various departments. His work diligently behind the scenes has improved Mason Health employees’ overall health and safety. These efforts are a major reason why he was nominated and selected as Mason Health’s February 2023 Employee of the Month.

Smith grew up in Mount Vernon, Washington, where he graduated high school in 1979. He attended Skagit Valley College for his associate’s degree and then obtained two bachelor’s degrees from Central Washington University, in American Literature and History in 1985. He wanted to work as a historian for the National Parks Service, however, federal cuts led him to reconsider. He tended bar throughout college and continued after he graduated until he embarked on a career in the oil refinery business.

“I worked in a fabrication shop and the work was interesting, then I got out of that and did a lot of travel as a turnaround worker,” Smith said. “Whenever they needed to shut down a portion of the refinery for a refurbishment, I came in to do the job, typically 30 to 90 days. I would go to a job, make money, go to a new location, sometimes with the same contractor and sometimes not.”

Smith worked this way for 20 years, stopping for a period to work as a foreman, then going back to work equipment as a turnaround worker. He worked for the maintenance division of his last company in the oil refinery business, but even in that role, there were regular layoffs.

Before coming to Mason Health, Smith also worked for a contractor to the federal government called New Frontier Aviation, based in Montana. Smith loaded fire retardant on to single air engine tankers to help fight fires in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota and Idaho. When the planes returned, he would wash them at the end of the day.

Smith traveled 320 to 330 days a year throughout the western United States, working in refineries and fighting fires. He met a woman who lived in Shelton, and by this time, the constant travel was wearing him down.

“It was great the first 8 to 10 years, but then spending almost every night in a hotel was tiring,” he said. “My now wife, Cindy, had retired and moved to Shelton, where her folks had moved to. When I got my last layoff at the refineries, and after my last job with the fires, I came down here.”

Smith initially considered a job in the mills, then he saw an advertisement in the paper for work in the Facilities Department at Mason Health. He has come to love his job at Mason Health. In 2021, he led a process improvement project to increase departments’ participation in fire safety drills. Participation had been low for years, but with the communication improvements he made, participation jumped to 100 percent for three months in a row in 2022.

“Being the safety person here, there is a lot of responsibility but at the end of the day, I always feel like I accomplished something,” he said.

Smith reads as much as he can and is also a Master Gardener through the Washington State Extension program. He enjoys working around his home, getting out on a boat on Fawn Lake where he lives, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his wife, Cindy.

Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is ISO 9001 Quality Management System certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. Mason General Hospital and Mason Clinic are ENERGY STAR® certified and Mason Health is the recipient of Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Environmental Excellence Awards. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. For more information or to find a health care provider, visit To learn more about DNV, visit


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