It is early on a crisp, fall morning, and the main office of Buildings & Grounds is bustling with life. The phone rings incessantly, and the handheld radio nearby goes off as staff members check in to ask questions or give reports. Other staffers wander through the office, picking up paperwork and keys. Meanwhile, dozens of e-mails fill the department’s work order inbox.
In the middle of it all, Joan Smith is smiling.
“I love this,” said Smith, the office manager for Buildings & Grounds. “I’m a people person, and this job lets me help people every day.”
Smith, who lives in Rustburg, Virginia, has been with the College since 1999. Her responsibilities include everything from coordinating all work order requests from the campus community, to managing the payroll for the department, to supporting the five supervisors in the office. Smith is also a member of the Staff Advisory Committee.
“Most people don’t ever meet Joan, except over the phone,” said Bobby Bennett, the department’s director. “She’s not just the voice behind the phone. She’s the smile. And she’s the glue that holds everything together.”
Smith’s days are filled with constant activity as she manages the custodial, repair, and landscaping needs of Randolph’s campus while maintaining relationships with vendors and handling the paperwork associated with the busy office.
“It’s challenging,” she said. “But I like that. When students or faculty or staff call and have a problem, I like to be able to help get it fixed.”
Smith is happiest taking care of people, whether they are students on Randolph’s campus or her own family. Originally from Chatham, Virginia, Smith moved to the Lynchburg area with her husband, Henry. Married for 40 years, the couple raised three children. An avid gardener, Smith enjoys taking advantage of Randolph’s campus during her lunch hour.
“It is nice to step outside and just catch my breath. I love taking a walk and watching the butterflies and listening to the birds sing,” she said. “This is a welcoming place. I like being a part of that. You look up at these beautiful buildings and at our campus. It just gives you a peace within yourself. Then you are ready to go back in and do it again.”
Bennett said Smith’s positive attitude has an impact campus wide.
“She’s the connection between everyone in our department and the rest of the campus,” he said. “Most people would be surprised at just how busy she is every day. Yet, she maintains it, and she never seems to have a bad day.”