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Fifty Years and Counting

In a time where people often change employers or industries, Linda Wallace is celebrating a true milestone. This month marks her 50th anniversary at Pineland Telephone – yes, you read that correctly. Linda began working at Pineland on June 1, 1972 during her junior year at Metter High School as part of the Vocational Office Program. At the end of her senior year, she was offered (and happily accepted) a full-time position. Although she’s officially retired, Linda continues to be an asset, working part-time as one of Pineland’s front-line staff. To highlight her anniversary, Linda graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her time here at Pineland. What was the first position you held at Pineland? What other positions did you transition? The first position I held at Pineland was office assistant. During that time I gained knowledge of each department: customer service, cashier and collections, service orders, billing, and accounting. Everything was done manually back then! I learned the importance of the workflow and integration of each department. At times, I was also the secretary to the General Manager. I used ‘shorthand’ or a recorder as he dictated letters and helped prepare for the monthly board meetings. There were no copying machines, so carbon copies were made. After the death of Myrtice Gerrald, a long-time employee, I was moved into her position in the customer service department. From there, I transitioned into the accounting department and later became Director of Business Operations. I held that position until my retirement (December 2013). After retirement I worked as a contractor for several years and now as a part-time Customer Experience Associate. Pineland has had five General Managers, and I’ve worked for four of them – I was not here when E.R. Britt was General Manager. In the last fifty years there have been a lot of changes in the telecommunications industry. Can you elaborate on some that were most memorable? There have been many changes in the telecommunications industry. Pineland has been able to stay abreast as it continues to provide for the needs of its customers. Some of the most memorable were changing from two-six party lines to all private line service; from old rotary dial phones to push button phones; from doing everything manually to computer networks; updating the outside plant to all fiber; and adding high speed internet, TV, and alarm services. Also, our main office has been reconstructed several times and we have added buildings in different locations to accommodate for the growth at Pineland. Although you are retired, you continue to serve at Pineland part-time. What drives you to continue working? I continue to serve at Pineland part-time because I enjoy the work and assisting customers. It helps me ‘keep-up’ with all the constant changes in the industry. I also enjoy all the people I work with. The Pineland family is second to none! I am very thankful and have been very blessed with a wonderful 50-year career at Pineland. Outside of your part-time work, are there any hobbies that you enjoy in your retirement? I love spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren, and take every opportunity I get to go RVing! While Linda feels blessed to be a part of Pineland, the Pineland family knows that we are the fortunate ones. Thank you Linda for you dedication, loyalty, and service. Congratulations on fifty years (and counting)!

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