We would like to say a big thank you, and congratulations to our Office Manager, Debra Condrath, who is celebrating 40 years with Muhlenberg Greene Architects! Today, Deb is authoring her anniversary post.
On September 30, 1975, I walked through the door at 15 North Sixth Street in Reading PA to begin my employment as a secretary with Muhlenberg Greene Architects. It was 3 months after I graduated from Reading High School, and I was just 17 years old. My natural auburn hair was long, my skirts were short, and my eyes did not require bifocals to read small print.
Other than my hair style changing quite frequently, not much has changed around here in 40 years. I still wear many hats to get through my duties, and even though the MGA staff may have changed faces over the years, we remain a team of dedicated and hard-working people who take pride in the quality of our work and the projects we complete.
Today, our office is filled with computers and software programs that assist us in our duties, but in 1975 when I began my career here, the office looked quite different. In 1975 we were producing the drawings by hand drafting, and the specifications were typed from scratch on an electric typewriter. I typed letters and other correspondence on the typewriter using carbon paper between two sheets of paper in order to make an office copy. We didn’t own a large format printer so the original tracings were picked up by a local printer and the blueprints delivered to our door. The photocopier in 1975 was quite memorable – we had one of those state-of-the art copiers that used thermal paper (the paper that printed daisies on the back of the copy) which promptly curled up when the copies left the machine; changing the thermal paper roll required more patience than I possessed so I always called on Howard to do the job. Our telephones were white with 3 incoming lines and a big red “hold” button. Bell Telephone was the only telephone provider in the country, and long distance calls could result in hefty charges (particularly when Larry was the caller!).
My bookkeeping, including payroll, was done manually which was a bit more time consuming then the help I get today with our software program. The one accounting chore I never looked forward to was the annual typing of the 8-part W2 forms on a typewriter. The first year we had the accounting software program which printed them out on our daisy wheel HP printer was a celebration!
In today’s world, where overnight shipping and instant emailing is a daily occurrence, it’s hard to believe that in 1975 overnight shipping was not commonplace (Fed Ex was in its infancy), and the world-wide web wasn’t even spoke of. In 1975, I bought office supplies at locally-owned stores – big box supply stores like Staples were nonexistent.
In 2015, typewriters are now relics and copy machines can handle pretty much everything except make the coffee. Computers are an essential part of our daily lives as we have them in all shapes and sizes from desktop & laptop computers to tablets & smart phones. Technology will continue to advance and wherever it may take us as time goes on you can be assured that Muhlenberg Greene Architects will be here and will continue to provide quality professional architectural and engineering services, just as we have done so for the past 95 years. It’s been my pleasure to be a part of our history for the last 40 years.
Perhaps one day MGA will be designing structures in space? Beam me up, Scotty!