Employee Spotlight A Willingness to Learn Proves Valuable to Esther Harp’s Career and Travels
Telecommunications is very different today – as is pretty much everything else – than it was 20 years ago. Tablets were in their early stages and many of us still memorized phone numbers, because we didn’t trust our cell phones (if we even had one). So, imagine jumping back into work at a time when dial-up internet service (512 Kbps/128 Kbps) was still the norm and cable TV had a limited number of channels.
Facility and Inventory Specialist Esther Harp did just that after being a stay-at-home mom for several years.
“When I was offered a job at SKT early December 2001, I had no idea how cable TV worked because I’d always lived in the country and cable wasn’t available, and I had not typed much since high school,” Esther explains. “I started in the customer service department and figured it out.”
Esther continues, “Eight years ago, I was offered the ‘warehouse job’ part-time and worked customer service part-time. Last fall, I moved to the warehouse full-time taking on the role of Facility and Inventory Specialist where I’m responsible for all of the purchase orders and receiving of shipments, whether it’s vehicles, plant equipment, modems and routers or small items. I also oversee lawn care, parking lot snow removal, building inspections, as well as ordering supplies for our offices in Clearwater, Burden, Clay Center, and Miltonvale,” Esther explains. “Each day is different so that makes it enjoyable.”
Esther has done a great job of jumping into her new role after SKT was acquired by Twin Valley, Customer Service Manager Jill McMillan said.
“She is detail oriented and focused,” Jill said. “Which is so important for someone who is in a job that involves logistics, supply ordering, and maintenance of our buildings and equipment. It’s one of those behind-the-scenes roles that is key to keeping our operations running smoothly.”
Something Esther really appreciates about working for SKT is the flexibility she had to volunteer with Clearwater Emergency Services. “I served as Advanced EMT and as Captain of the fire department for 12 years until retiring three years ago. SKT allowed me to leave work any time we had an emergency call, then I made up my time later or used vacation time.”
Though Esther enjoyed serving others using her life-saving skills with the fire department, and it’s something she will always remember, now she uses some of her down time on other activities.
“I love to travel,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s a passion of mine. I have spent a lot of time in Colorado throughout my lifetime and have also visited several other states on various trips including Hawaii and Florida. I especially love the ocean and have a collection of bottled sand from all of the beaches I’ve visited.”
One particularly memorable trip Esther calls “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” is something she is grateful she had the chance to do.
“The most memorable trip was one I took a few years ago with my husband, Lee, and my sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Tom,” Esther warmly recalls. We flew to Rome and toured the city, the Vatican, and St. Peter’s Basilica. We then took a cruise ship around the Mediterranean Sea with excursions in Italy, Monaco, France, Spain, and all of the surrounding islands – 10 stops in all. We even toured Malta. It is just a speck on the map, but it has a lot of history and old architecture as well as an international airport.”
She added, “one particularly scary moment is when we almost missed the ship leaving our stop in Marseilles, France. We couldn’t find a cab that would take us all the way back to the ship, so we ran most of the way and barely made it before they gave up on us.”
While Esther has certainly enjoyed traveling and the different cultural experiences that come with it, she’s happy to be near her family too. “My husband and I love spending time with my son and daughter-in-law, Jesse and Autumn, as well as our grandkids, Rhett, Annie, and Oakes,” Esther shares. “We go to wrestling tournaments, baseball games, field days, and they come and play at my house.”
The grandkids will only be young for a short time, and while she will soak up every possible minute of that time with them, Esther also has some ideas about what she might like to do after retiring from SKT. “I would love to go on another European cruise.”
That sounds très bien (good, very good)!