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Front Page » April 21, 2005 » Carbon working people » Variety, while being indispensable
Published 3,418 days ago

Variety, while being indispensable


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By RICHARD SHAW
General manager

For most administrators and managers, there is one person they can't live their work life without.

Their administrative assistant.

While some see the terms secretary and administrative assistant in the same light, there are differences between the two positions, although the lines often blur when going from business to business.

It is often easy for people to pigeon hole a job that someone else does. Administrative assistants often find themselves in that category, with people thinking they just type letters and make appointments.

But upon any kind of investigation, one finds that is just not true. In fact the aspects of an administrative assistant's functions is often one of the most expansive in an organization. And some have done their job for years, while others are relatively new at what they are doing.

"I remember right after I came to CEU, I was working for Ralph Vanderlinden when he was a counselor," said Verna Lauritsen, an administrative assistant to Brad King in the student life area at the College of Eastern Utah. "I and two other people in the office got brand new electric typewriters. It wasn't long after that that computers started showing up on everyones desks."

That was about 25 years ago and Lauritsen who began as a secretary later moved up to administrative assistant when she worked for Ted Jensen. Ever since then she has been working in that same area, with two other supervisors retiring or moving on until King took over the position a few years ago.

"The best part of this job has always been the students," she says. "And now I am starting to see kids attending the college now who are the children of students I helped with housing many years ago."

Carrie Ericson, left talks with Tram Electric's receptionist Brooke Bigelow during her days rounds of delivering various types of paper work to offices in the building, Ericson says Tram is a fun place to work and she likes working for a thriving and growing company.

Lauritsen, who plans on retiring from the college in September says her job has a long period of high activity from mid-April until August because that is when students are trying to get housing for the coming year.

"After school starts in the fall and the kids settle down, things quiet down," said Lauritsen. "However then the calendar I have to keep and the scheduling I have to do for the Leavitt Student Center and the old Student Activity Center heats up."

Calendaring and scheduling seems to be a theme amongst administrative assistants. Almost all of them have something to do with calendaring for their bosses and others in their organization. Many also have to schedule facility use as well.

"In my typical day I do a lot of calendaring for appointments, meetings and scheduling for the meeting rooms in the hospital," says Paula Kunze, assistant to Castleview Hospital administrator Jeff Manley. "But my day is never dull because this is a great place to work and we have wonderful people here."

Kunze, who says her education mostly came at the hands of "on the job training" has spent a total of 11 years working at the hospital. She is an Emery County resident and was formerly the city recorder for Ferron.

"Departmental and professional meetings, keeping track of them and taking and keeping minutes are some of my main duties," she says. "I of course also answer phones here in Jeff's office and try as be as nice as I can to everyone who calls."

As anyone can expect those calls are not always positive but Kunze takes it in stride and says she just tries to treat people well, despite their complaints.

"No organization is perfect, but I see this hospital as an integral and important part of the community," she says. "Our motto is 'Family caring for family' and that is really true in an area like eastern Utah."

Doing any kind of job often requires doing the little things that make a place run smoothly. That may even include making the coffee for those at work. Carrie Ericson, who has a bachelors degree in accounting from Utah State University, doesn't mind that part of her job as an administrative assistant to Tram Electric's owner Dave Zaccaria.

"I think the thing I like the best about working here is dealing with an upbeat boss who allows me to be creative in what I do," says Ericson who has worked for the company only two years. "I deal with a lot of different things, many of which I had little knowledge of when I came to work here."

In fact, Ericson said she barely knew what Tram Electric did when she started. But she has learned quickly.

"There is a lingo to this business and you have to know all the words to communicate," she states. "It took me almost a year to get acclimatized so I could actually understand everything that is going on."

Paula Kunze talks with her boss Jeff Manley after a meeting.

Ericson spends a lot of her day working on building data bases for the company, but she also spends time out on the floor talking with workers, discussing issues with customers and dealing with suppliers.

"It's a varied job and I enjoy it," she says. "I think the hardest thing to adapt to has been to learn to deal with all the personalities that I encounter. The easiest has been the flexibility of the job and the fact that we can dress as we feel is fit for the day we are going to have."

For Vicki Noyes, another administrative assistant to Brad King, life at her work is largely about fund raising and alumni. King wears many hats at CEU and one of them, in addition to student services, is heading up the development department where Noyes works.

"We just get through with one event or fund raiser and another is upon us,says Noyes. "There's the CEU Foundation, the Alumni Foundation, Founders Day and many others we either do or help with. Next week we have an Alumni golf tournament coming up that raises money for the student clubs. Last year it made $6000 for various clubs on campus."

She says the favorite part of her job is dealing with the alumni, because they tell her such wonderful stories about their lives and particularly about CEU.

"Many of them remember their time here fondly," she says.

Noyes is also involved in grants and aiding others with grants. She also has a side of her job that she never signed up for when she started to work in institutional development, but a part she loves.

"Because Brad's in the legislature we get a lot of calls about that," she says. "I mostly send those calls up state to his legislative office there, but I hear about what is going on. I find the political arena interesting."

She says she has learned so much about dealing with people from King because he has to handle so many kinds of situations between the job at CEU and the political situations."

Development also means getting money for scholarships and Noyes enjoys working on that because it helps the students.

Institutional development adminstrative assistant Vicki Noyes works closely with Ernestine Gilson in fund raising, event and scholarship development at CEU. Noyes works for Brad King, who has various responsibilities on campus.

All four women say that selecting a part of their job that is the worst, is very difficult, because the jobs are so fun and enjoyable.

That would seem hard to believe, except that they all had big smiles on their faces while they told their stories.

Each, of course, also has to work with others that occupy similar positions. Ericson says much of her job is working along with the other three people that share similar duties at her company.

"They all have different functions from assisting the director of operations to technical services," she says. "But we all get along well and it's fun."

Noyes works closely with Ernestine Gilson in her office. Gilson does a lot of data entry as pertains to the fund raising and alumni.

Kunze works in an office where she not only assists Manley but also works with Terry Watkins and Craig Daniels, others management team members at the hospital.

"I work with all of them, but mainly I am Jeff's assistant," she says.

Only Lauritsen is in her own world, sitting amongst cubicles that house student government and high school relations.

"I like it here," she says. "There is a lot of energy in these kids."

Each job different, each job having it's separate challenges.

And obviously, as expressed by those that work them, each job fun.


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