Teresa Brinati 2017-11-13 11:31:57
If you ever placed a book order, registered for a workshop or the Annual Meeting, or renewed your membership, chances were you encountered Lee Gonzalez, SAA’s inimitable service center representative. There was never a request too complicated that Lee didn’t handle with aplomb, and he was always at the ready to strike a deal to make sure a member was satisfied. After 15 years with SAA, he now has new marching orders. In November Lee followed his heart to International Falls, Minnesota, where his significant other took a nursing position. We don’t blame him, given his zeal for travel. In the past year alone he has visited Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, and Washington, as well as traversed the country via train. Before he hit the road again, he shared some memories of SAA. SAA: How did you find us? LG: On Craig’s List! In March 2003 I applied for a part-time office assistant position at SAA and give credit to Carlos Salgado [Service Center Manager] for picking out my application from a stack of over 50. My first task was to use Lotus 1-2-3 to enter daily batch deposits into a spreadsheet as a tracking source. At the time I was also working on my associate’s degree in business systems from Northeastern University. I became full time at SAA in 2005 and joined the Service Center soon after. My whole thing has always been that I want to know how to do everything. I’ve always thought that way, ever since my first job as a teenager at McDonald’s. I didn’t just want to learn how to cook, but also do the drive-thru and work the counter. After high school I enlisted in the Army and did a three-year stint followed by a few years working in a manufacturing facility that produced gaskets for cars. I learned every position in the department. The discipline of the Army was good preparation for SAA. Your experience and how you apply it is important. SAA: Do you have any favorite memories? LG: The excitement of going to the Annual Meetings. Even though the amount of work leading up to it is overwhelming, it pays off at the meeting. It’s where members build relationships with each other and it’s also a meet-and-greet for members and staff. The onsite bookstore allows people to see our products. They come into say “hi” and have even brought me gifts! SAA has some special members and I’m grateful to them for their friendship. I always tried to put myself in our members’ shoes and to treat all members as VIPs. SAA: Any parting thoughts? LG: SAA is family to me and it’s like my second home. SAA provided a lot of memories for me . . . Just like I provided memories for SAA! SAA: We’ll miss you, Lee, and wish you all the best wherever your journey takes you.
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