Albany State University
ASU’s HR guy welcomes new employees

HR director welcomes new ASU employees

ASU’s Human Resources director was in rare form during his introduction of new employees on the first day of the Faculty Staff Conference, “ASU Refreshed: We’re About Quality Service and Effectiveness.”

I hadn’t sipped my morning cup of Earl Grey yet, didn’t feel refreshed and was in dire need of a pick-me-up. Perky moderator Bonisha Porter, ASU’s Housing and Residential Life director lightened the atmosphere with her warmth and upbeat personality.

Then HR’s leader Steve Grant stood at the podium, before the packed house and proceeded to bring the house down with his “message” delivered in the cadence of a preacher. He wore white (which became more significant near the end of his presentation). “It’s another great day at Albany State University,” his voice boomed.

It shook me into caffeine-free consciousness.  Then he told a nice story about an employee who asked “how can I have a great day every day?”

The grey haired former Marine responded, grinning.

“Some days are greater than others, but it is a great day,” he said placing emphasis on “great”.  

Someone told me that this is the norm for the colorful character with a quick, toothy grin willing to share a laugh with anyone within eyeshot.  

I’ve had the good fortune of bumping into him some mornings on the walk from the parking lot to his office in ACAD 382. “It’s a great day to be at Albany State!” he shouted in a sing song melody to another employee heading in.  “Some days are just better than others!”  He keeps the atmosphere light on the 3rd floor no matter what the day brings.

Grant introduced 79 new employees, many seated in the front rows of the auditorium who didn’t know what to expect. After only a few minutes into his “sermon”, I sat there totally amused and alert. I remember hearing him make an announcement about pay raises (no new news there; we’re not getting one), gas prices, insurance, something about a “wad of money” and the tuition assistance program. It really didn’t matter. He made me lol (“laugh out loud”). 

The introduction of his staff, all dressed in white was special. They all stood. “We are the good guys and we are here to serve you,” he said sounding authentic and believable.

The conclusion was a James Brown song, which he spoke, then at the end broke forth singing. By now,  keeled over in the seat, I laugh hard from the belly. Afterwards, I stood in salute.

The guy made such an impression, that I couldn’t end the day without thanking him in a tangible way for the entertainment, positivity and spirit. I stopped by one of my favorite shops in Albany and picked up what has become my comfort food in an unfamiliar city: homemade chocolate cookies. With the treats, I handed him a handwritten note. It was a tiny token to appreciate the HR guy for his huge, well-executed scheme to get us revved up about the new school year. It worked for me!

Vickie Oldham is a writer and  ASU’s Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

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