On a recent Monday morning at work, Rosalind Ross couldn’t figure out why so many people had gathered to welcome a new person to the office.
Before she had left work the previous Friday, her supervisor had asked whether she would be in the office on Monday to help the new staff member get settled at the Allegheny County Department of Facilities Management.
“I said, ‘Of course,’ ” recalled Ms. Ross, utility coordinator for the department. But as more and more people gathered, she wondered who the new person could be.
“I thought, ‘What’s going on here?' ” she said.
Soon she learned that her fellow workers were gathering because she was being honored with an Allegheny County Exemplary Employee Award.
When she realized she was being recognized, Ms. Ross said, for a minute, she couldn’t move.
“I was just sort of standing there, paralyzed, when I finally figured it out. I couldn’t think of anything to say,” she said.
Ms. Ross, 53, of Wilkinsburg has worked for the county since 1998 and was promoted in March to utility coordinator.
“It was wonderful to be recognized for all of my hard work, my commitment and dedication," she said. "Then to receive this honor was amazing.”
Her job in the department involves analyzing utility reports and coordinating energy procurement and the bill payment process.
Ms. Ross previously worked in private industry. About the time she started working for the county, she decided to start attending Community College of Allegheny County part time. Over the years, she has received an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree from Robert Morris University. She also has attended numerous seminars and other educational programs.
“I’ve always taken advantage of everything that is offered. I think I am the eternal student at heart,” she said.
Her quest for education and continuous learning is one of the reasons the county honored her.
“Rosalind has been a valuable asset to our department," Steve Kossert, facilities management director, said. "She is conscientious in her work and her commitment to the job has made a significant impact on our operations.”
Her efforts helped save the county a large amount of money, Mr. Kossert said. “Because of her diligence and attentiveness, a billing error was found that had grown over several months, which would have cost the county $400,000 had she not realized and addressed the error. Her enthusiastic approach to her job and responsibilities makes Rosalind one of our county’s best employees and we are grateful for her service.”
“I was just doing my job,” Ms. Ross said.
She is quick to point out that she would not have received the honor without the help from her supervisors and co-workers.
“I’ve had so much support and people helping me and pushing me to grow and be the best I can be in the utility industry. Our vendors have also encouraged and supported me,” Ms. Ross said.
As that self-described “eternal student,” Ms. Ross said more education may be in her future.
“I haven’t really decided what is next. Now that my daughter will be finishing up her bachelor’s degree, it might be time for me to get a master’s,” she said.
Ms. Ross is happy with her career with the county.
“This has been such a wonderful career path and I’ve been able to really grow," she said. "I’ve taken this trek with so much support. I’m truly blessed.”
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.