Combs Is September Employee of the Month

Posted: September 1, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Carolyn Combs, September Employee of the Month, is the administrator of the Mason Mail System, and she has fans throughout the university. Combs performs all the day-to-day operations of the university’s voice mail system, which has more than 10,000 mailboxes.

Combs “has performed admirably as the telecommunications expert for the university. I notice that it takes only one phone call for assistance with equipment or procedures, and you get a return call immediately with a solution to your problem. E-mails are answered within minutes,” says Cindy Woodfork, equipment technician in General Accounting.

In departments that require resetting phones and voice mails for numerous adjunct professors each semester, the praise is lavish for Combs’ ability to get things set up quickly and correctly.

“I stopped everything I was doing this afternoon to write about Carolyn,” says Susie LeBlanc, outreach coordinator in History and Art History. “She has, without fail, always handled my requests with calm good humor and stellar efficiency. She is friendly, courteous, efficient, professional and, from what I can tell, very flexible and unflappable.” LeBlanc e-mails Combs a list of voice mailboxes to be disconnected or moved and new ones needed. “The process couldn’t be easier for me,” LeBlanc says. “I can guarantee to my adjuncts that phone service for them normally will be available in three working days. And it’s often done before that.”

Irma Bennett, office administrator for the English Department, has similar praise. “At the beginning of each semester we have quite a few requests for voice mail and service to telephones. Within 24 hours, Carolyn Combs has responded to my requests, and faculty have all the information they need within a couple of days,” she says. “It has always been a delight to work with Carolyn, as she not only gets the job completed in a more than timely fashion, but she is always friendly and always goes the extra mile.”

Combs’ job involves more than switching phones—every Friday she updates the Jobline for HR/Payroll. “She has always been prompt and accurate with recording the jobs and removing the closed jobs,” says Betty Beatson, recruitment manager for Human Resources. “I know that when I send the Employment Prospects file to Carolyn, I can be assured that the information is transferred correctly and quickly. Some of the faculty positions are lengthy, with many tongue-twisting technical terms that require some practicing before recording. She never misses the words. Carolyn is good! I do not know what we would do without her help.”

Combs also sets the timing of the day and evening messages for the university switchboard. “When the university schedule changes, all I have to do is notify Carolyn by e-mail, and I know it will be done,” said Rebecca (Becky) Nemeth, manager for University Switchboard and Kiosks, Information Services. “She is completely thorough and responsible, and I know she will follow through. Not one doubt enters my mind when I turn my request over to her.” Combs also reports on how many calls come into the switchboard and which option callers choose. “Without Carolyn’s dedication, attention to detail, and sense of responsibility—not to mention her technical skills—I’m sure this university would not function. Her expertise is vital to so many units,” says Nemeth. “She is one of the best customer service providers that I have encountered.”

Combs first came to Mason as a student, earning a degree in economics. She came back to Mason 10 years ago after working in Washington, D.C., as a telecom coordinator, and before that as a purchasing manager and PBX/voice mail administrator. “The people I work with are great!” Combs says about her job. She adds, “My commute decreased from 1 1/2 hours each way to 20 minutes, so I have more of a life now, plus excellent benefits and a pension package.” Her twin sons both graduated from Mason, Justin in economics and Jesse in communication. “So, I had the opportunity to see them during the day in between their classes,” she says.

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