TELL ME ABOUT YOUR JOB.
I’m in charge of Campus Mail Distribution. We have more than 390 daily mail pick ups. We pick up and deliver campus mail – mail from one campus unit to another –and pick up outgoing U.S. mail that requires processing. We meter the U.S. mail and take it to the post office daily. We do have a 24-hour turnaround for mail, although the U.S. mail normally goes the same day. I’m also a liaison between campus and the post office. I keep up with rate increases and changes in postal regulations – such as how certain kinds of parcels are handled, sealed and packaged – and UI policy changes. I believe we provide an important service for the campus.
WHY DOES THE UI NEED ITS OWN MAIL SERVICE?
It saves the departments money. Pick up and delivery of mail to the departments is a free service and is also a convenience for them. We also provide discounted rates for first-class mail pieces that can be read by a machine. Stamps may be purchased through us also.
HOW MUCH MAIL DOES CAMPUS MAIL PROCESS EACH YEAR AND HAS THAT DECREASED IN RECENT YEARS?
We have seen a decrease of mail over the years because of e-mail, faxes and other changes in technology. In 2008, we were processing about 15 million pieces. We are now at about 10 million of both campus and U.S. mail.
WHEN DID YOU START WORKING AT CAMPUS MAIL?
I started out when we were Mailing Services, as extra help in 1985 and worked my way up.
WHAT DID YOU DO AS AN EXTRA HELP EMPLOYEE?
I picked up mail – I did a lot of the mail routes. I also did metering. At that time, we did production of the mail, which could include stuffing or labeling envelopes and things of that nature. We also had several mailing machines to operate. In the morning you could be doing work on the machines or hand labeling or inserting and then in the afternoon you could be doing a route and working in the meter area. It’s been interesting over the last 25 years. There have been a lot of changes. The Mailing Services department was divided five years ago and part of our group along with the automation area went to Printing Services.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OTHERS ON CAMPUS DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO?
The volume would probably surprise them, and the number of employees who are responsible for it. We just have seven employees who pick the mail up, sort, meter and prepare the campus mail for delivery the next morning. Sometimes we don’t even have a full crew – if we’re short one or two people – they still get it out. They’re just a great group.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING HERE?
I think UI is a great place to work. I enjoy the people I work with. You come to know them and appreciate them and learn to care about them almost like family. I really can’t imagine working anywhere else.
DOES YOUR DEPARTMENT DO ANYTHING FOR FUN?
We get together with the Stores unit – about 45 people altogether – and a few of us cook breakfast every month or so for the employees. I enjoy that a lot. It makes me feel good that they enjoy it so much. It’s kind of like a thank you for the great work they do.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN AFTER WORK?
We help our daughter with our grandchildren. She is a single mom so we help out as much as possible. They are great fun and sometimes a challenge at our age.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?
When I get spare time, I like flower gardening, and I rent a little space at the Forsyth Village Antique Mall, where I sell a variety of things, including Frankoma pottery, decorative items and other vintage decor. I collect little things here and there – whatever catches my eye.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
I’m also involved with an organization in Champaign called The Pregnancy Resource Center. If I can find good baby clothes or other items I collect them for the center. I was a young, single mother so I have a heart for that ministry.
I’m also active at our church, Argenta Baptist Church. We’re getting ready for Vacation Bible School in a couple weeks, which my grandkids are looking forward to.
I also like to walk and have quiet time. We live in Cisco, so there are plenty of quiet places in the country to walk.
MEL DODD FAST FACTS
Family: Her husband, Randy, works for Stores and Receiving. Her daughter, Danee, lives in Cisco and works at a facility for developmentally disabled adults. Her son, James, is a member of the National Guard. She has four grandchildren, ages 17months to 11 years.
Favorite places to eat: Biaggi’s; Filippo’s Pizza – an Italian restaurant in Mahomet and Monticello; and China King.
Favorite places ever visited: Hawaii and Disneyland. She will be traveling to London this fall with a church group.