On this #ThrowbackThursday, we’re taking a trip down memory lane with Beverly Colfry, who recently celebrated her 24th year of employment with the State of Florida--all but a few with the University of North Florida. She found her “home” as she says at the UNF Division of Continuing Education more than 13 years ago and has seen 80+ coworkers come and go. She takes pride in the fact that she was the person who recommended her boss, Tim Giles, to then interim dean and says that she has been immensely blessed by his leadership.
The feeling is mutual. Tim reflects, “It has been a pleasure working with Beverly for 13 of her 24 years with UNF and the State of Florida. Bev is such a dedicated employee. She is very focused on making sure UNFCE meets all of its commitments to its vendors and instructors, as well as keeping all of us in line with purchasing and accounts payable guidelines (which is quite a task). She is hard working, dependable, smart and a lot of fun to work with. I’m proud to call her a colleague and a friend.”
Never one for the spotlight, Beverly describes herself modestly as a “worker bee.” She is and has been an integral part in keeping UNFCE focused and solvent over the years. As the accounts payable specialist, Beverly reflected that after 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008-09 that the division lost no time in reinventing itself to meet the new financial and job market realities of the community and remain relevant to the university as a whole. In her position, she processes all instructor payments, vendor payments, tracks and monitors the budget indexes and keeps the staff informed and updated on spending levels. According to Bev, one of the directors has a BEV folder just to house her “how to” e-mails.
Obviously, there’s no denying the essential function that Beverly serves at UNFCE, and everyone here would give her the highest praise on her work ethic and product, but when asked to describe Beverly, it might just be her incredible warmth, caring and generous attitude and willingness to help anyone that would most often be mentioned. She is often the first person in the office, and we’ve all grown accustomed to being greeted by her smile and genuine “Good morning.” She often brings in things to share with all us. This morning she brought in home-grown tomatoes from her husband’s garden!
A 24-year career would obviously have some memorable moments, so we asked Beverly to share some with us. The first one that came to mind was very early in her career when the UNF Child Development Center called to tell her that her young daughter was trying to climb the fence to escape. “I was actually a stay-at-home mom and saw an ad for an accounts payable clerk at UNF, so that’s how it began. My daughter was in daycare at the Child Development Center. I’ll never forget the day they called. We still laugh about it,” Beverly recollects.
The second memorable moment Beverly recalls fondly was when her husband Ron proposed to her. Shortly after beginning her job with UNF, Beverly got divorced. A few years later, though, she met Ron Colfry, an analyst at UNF. “It was really funny. Ron asked me to come into his office and he closed the door and then proposed to me. Everybody in the office was standing outside the door and shoving pieces of paper under it,” she says with a definite twinkle in her eye.
Her third was when she won the 2005 Gabor Award, which honors exceptional service by university employees. She was nominated by the interim dean of the division because she was the only person in UNFCE financial services and was having to perform the many functions that are usually done by multiple people. She says that it was one of the highlights of her career.
We asked Beverly what’s next for her career, and her answer was that she is committed to remaining excited and focused on her job here at UNFCE for the next five or so years until she will be eligible for retirement. “I have seen a lot come and go and get burned out or who start to just mark time when they get close to retirement. I want to continue to be proactive and to do whatever I can to make UNFCE a better place.”
Her plans for retirement? It’s all pretty wide open for her. She might travel, indulge her scrapbooking hobby or take up something new. She is looking forward to having more time with Ron, who has already retired. One thing is for sure, she will always be part of the history of UNFCE, and her legacy will be felt long after she has left to see the world.
So, to Beverly we say “Congratulations on your anniversary!” and we look forward to celebrating the next and the next and the next and the next….