As of 2010, Ms. Edwards is only responsible for sending bulk mail and none of the other traditional duties of a postmistress.

Debbie Edwards, [email protected]

Debbie Edwards has a lightning fast e-mail response time. It's not so surprising, though, considering she's the UC Davis Postmaster, and has won a service award for her work in this position. After spending 4 years, 2 months, and 22 days in the Air Force, Debbie Edwards started her career at UC Davis as a computer operator in the basement of Hutchison Hall in 1984. She has been the Postmaster for UC Davis since 1996, and she still remembers her first years here and joyfully reminisces about the old motorcycle she rode in those days. Back then, her parking permit was only four dollars a month.

In a few sentences, explain what your job entails. What is a typical workday like for you?

Most postmasters are responsible for doing hardware and software upgrades, getting down and dirty with the machines. At UC Davis, we take a different approach. I'm responsible for customer service. I answer people's emails, troubleshoot issues with MyUCDavis, and work one-on-one with people all over campus. The programmers and system administrators on campus are great, but it's not always most efficient to have them responsible for providing technical support. I have a knack for teaching and a strong understanding of the technology, so I can help people work out their tech-troubles, allowing the programmers to focus on their projects.

When I come into work, I turn the computer on, set up all my windows, and log into all my machines. I check my email and delete all the spam. Then I get down to business.

What part of your job do you most enjoy ?

The thing I love most is helping people. I've been told I have a knack for explaining things to people in a way that's easily understandable. I often feel that direct communication is more efficient than e-mail, so I spend a lot of time troubleshooting over the phone. You wouldn't believe the enjoyment I get out of explaining to someone the difference between a mail ID and a login. This is extremely confusing to most people on campus.

Also, I can really see my job evolving. People are becoming more informed; long ago, we had to counsel people on misuse of their accounts and had large folders with information on suspended accounts. I rarely do that anymore.

What is your most memorable or unusual experience at work?

When I worked as an operator in Hutchison Hall, we had a mini machine room, where there was a unique machine designed to take moisture out of the air. Unfortunately, there was no drain. As a result, we had to put a bucket next to the machine and empty the bucket when it filled with water. When the weather was bad, we had to empty it quite a bit and we had to mop the floors. I had nightmares of walking in there to empty the bucket, finding three inches of water on the floor, and hoping I wouldn't get electrocuted. It's amazing how times change. When I first got to Davis, I had to empty a machine's water bucket; now I'm controlling computers all over campus from my desk.

What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

First of all, I love my house and my yard. At one time, I had 50 rose bushes. I'm down to 28 now; it's more manageable that way. I have a dog, a cat, and a turtle that I love very much. I like to spend a lot of time with my critters. It's really relaxing to just sit in the hot tub, drinking coffee, watching the world go by. Gardening is my number one passion. It's something physical I can do to balance out the time I spend on the computer. My garden helps me relieve stress primarily because my roses don't yell at me. I talk to my plants and they seem to be happy no matter what I say... as long as I water them.

When it's rainy or cold out, I like to read. I'm a big fan of Dean Koontz and other sci-fi thrillers. I'm also an avid fan of the Sacramento Monarchs. I love women's basketball and own two or three copies of every game program ever handed out, all the team dolls, and I have several signed posters.

6. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you?

I would take my music, a solar powered CD player, and my puppy. That should keep me content for quite a long time.

7. What are your personal favorite and least-favorite things about technology?

Email is wonderful. I'm fascinated by all the things that happen when you click that "Send" button. Your message could go anywhere in the world before it reaches its destination. Every wonder, for example, how you can send two emails and the second one gets there first? Think about it.

Spam and the sheer volume of it is probably my worst frustration with technology. It's hard to find an objective way to filter spam, since some things you think are spam might be something that I want. Also, the temptation for companies is huge. If a company sends out a million messages and makes five or six sales, they've still made a profit.

8. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

John F. Kennedy. I remember when he was assassinated. I remember how they shut down school and I remember crying all day long, knowing that he died too soon. I envision a different world if the man had been allowed to live his life.

9. Is there anything else you'd like your colleagues to know about you?

I'd like to thank everyone who nominated me for the Citation of Excellence / Staff Assembly Award. It was a wonderfully positive experience and it's wonderful to know that my work is appreciated by the campus. I really love my job. I feel like I'm one of the luckiest people on campus because I can work with people from all walks of life. I work with the chancellors, the fire department, the maintenance staff: everybody.

I'd also like to thank my family at UC and the PSL building. I miss you guys and I just have to say, "Thank you for the ride."

See also

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2005-05-19 21:35:05   Debbie Edwards rocks. So does her garden. —JessicaLuedtke


2005-07-12 23:16:36   Everyone at IET from staff to student staff <3 <3 <3 Debbie Edwards. —MichaelGiardina