Northeast Technology Center is preparing to say goodbye to yet another retiree. This time, it’s a district employee who has proudly served on the NTC team for almost four decades.
Jeanie Fox started her career with NTC on August 1, 1979, when she accepted a temporary position as secretarial assistance to classroom instructors for the Practical Nursing class. She very quickly proved her skills and was also added to the Cosmetology class.
“I loved working in the classrooms in my early days at NTC,” said Fox. “It felt like I was learning almost as much as each student was. Back in 1979, NTC was pretty modern for a school. There were so many neat things to learn. That hasn’t changed. But the idea was fairly new then.”
Prior to joining NTC staff, Fox sewed button holes on front pocket tabs and side waist tabs of the ever-so-popular Levi’s jean jackets.
“It took about as long as one month to realize I definitely did not want to do that for the rest of my life,” said Fox. “So I went to school. I started with the Business Office Administration fulltime program and also took a summer class in Advanced Business Admin, both at the Afton Campus.”
It was after completing her coursework at NTC that she interviewed for the temporary position that started her 37-year career with NTC.
Among many other things, Fox will be missed for her sweet smile and sarcastic jokes.
“The most surprising thing about working at NTC is that I’ve stayed here for 37 years! Of course I started when I was five,” joked Fox.
As one can imagine, 37 years on a job at a technology center will guarantee you have seen many technological advancements.
“I remember one of my duties early on the job was typing 22-page tests for the Practical Nursing class,” said Fox. “No computers, no memory - just a typewriter. Oh, and they had to be typed on stencils. Then the stencils had to be taken to a print machine called a Gestetner and duplicated about 25 times - and then collated - and then stapled. There was none of this drop it in the copy machine, key in the job, automatic staples in upper left corner, push button collate and walk away stuff like today!”
Fox is often the go-to person to answer questions from other staff members regarding things, people or events from past NTC days. With a mind full of 37 years’ worth of memories, Fox also has lots of fun stories to tell.
“One summer, while hoofing it across the Afton Campus to get a signature on an invoice, I cut through the Auto Collision department as the big overhead door was open and workers were in there working on the new paint booth,” said Fox. “As soon as the shop door closed behind me, I tried to open the front entryway door, but it was chained shut. I turned around quickly, to go back through the shop and just go around the building but the door was locked! I knocked and banged on the shop door, knowing those workers could hear me and would come open the door. Nobody came. I began kicking the door, my hands and feet hurt from knocking! Nobody came. So, I leaned back against the wall to think. It was hot in that little enclosed, confined entry way. This was before everyone had a cell phone they could whip out of their pocket and just text or call someone so I thought some more. Then, there on the wall, coming into clear focus was that bright red fire alarm. Oh my goodness, I didn’t even hesitate - I pulled it! It wasn’t long until Harold Cawyer, the Maintenance Supervisor, pushed open the shop door and said, ‘Jeanie, what are you doing?’ I told him I just needed to get back to work.”
Even in the challenging moments, Fox has loved her time at NTC.
“Challenges drive me, give me direction, give me a new perspective,” said Fox. “So, whatever might be a challenge to me, does not deter me. Knowing that, in spite of any challenges, we impact peoples’ lives in such a positive way that will change their future is so rewarding.”
That positive impact is something she hopes more people become aware of and take advantage of in the future.
“If I could change one thing about NTC, or were able to perform magic, I would shorten the distance between each of the four campuses,” said Fox. “But really, I just with more people knew what a good thing we have going here and that this really is a great alternative to college or a stepping stone on the path to college.”
As Human Resources Coordinator, Fox interacts with more employees district wide than most other coworkers have a chance to and she believes the exceptional staff is NTC’s greatest asset.
“The people I’ve met while working here are so wonderful, I even married on of them,” joked Fox. “I have been here longer than I have been a wife, mother and grandmother. I will truly miss being a part of something I have done more in my entire life than anything else. I will miss my NTC family the most.”
Fox leaves NTC in the hands of those coworkers she loves and has a message for those who will come after her.
“To anyone just starting their career with NTC, I would ask that you please take care of it for me,” said Fox. “Give it your best, not just what’s good enough. Don’t think of it as just a job, but devote your energy to it. Be committed to it. Let it become ingrained within you. Live it. Love it. Be it. And 37 years from now you may be retiring with more happiness in your heart than you can imagine.”
Fox’s post-retirement plans include being a traveling nanny, spending more time with her family and friends, traveling and sleeping in.
“The thing I am most looking forward to is no 6:00 AM alarm clock,” said Fox. “I can’t wait to spend all my extra time with my two sweet little granddaughters and my best friend - my husband Gary.”