One of the fun things about my job is the breadth of our division. We have all kinds of functions. For example we have a pretty big retail operation, including the Iowa Hawk Shop (books, apparel, supplies and more) and Tech Connection (electronics).
I never really thought much about how the stuff we sell got to the stores. Now I know, and the answer is that Kim Loomis makes it happen. Kim is the shipping and receiving manager at the bookstore and works at the warehouse (did you know we have a warehouse?). She’s been at the university for 10 years, nearly all of that in her current position. She and her crew of about 10 students unload trucks into the warehouse and then send the merchandise out.
One piece of the puzzle that Kim has to work everyday is which store the merchandise goes to. There are five stores in all. She’s also responsible for getting information about the merchandise into the system so the bookstore staff can keep track of inventory. And she’s not just responsible for incoming merchandise. There’s also the task of sending merchandise (for example unsold text books) back to the vendors, all the time keeping track of what is coming and going.
I always ask our Faces Behind the Scenes folks what they like about their jobs. When I asked Kim she didn’t hesitate—it’s the students. She started telling me how proud she is of her students and showing me pictures. One of her students sang the national anthem when Michelle Obama was visiting, others are serving in the armed forces abroad, and she’s gotten to know students from places like Vietnam, Nigeria, Columbia, and France.
I suspect the feeling is mutual. Kim tries to teach the student workers the workplace skills they are going to need to succeed. For a lot of students, this might be their first job, and their first opportunity to learn to work as a team, be responsible, and get along with a supervisor. Something tells me the last one isn’t hard for Kim’s students!