Oral-History:Patricia Thompson

From ETHW

About Patricia Thompson[edit | edit source]

Patricia thompson.jpg

In 2022, after a thirty-one-year career at IEEE, Patricia A. Thompson retired as an Administrator for Customer Operations, part of the IEEE Global Meetings, Conferences & Events Department in Technical Activities. Thompson was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, and graduated from Union Catholic High School. After marrying, she moved to Dunellen, later buying a house, and raising her family in Piscataway a short distance from the IEEE Operations Center. She focused on secretarial courses in high school and parlayed typing and shorthand skills into a career at various engineering, technical, and construction companies in New Jersey, including Wick and Abbott, Lockheed Electronics, Amdahl, Beecham Laboratories, and lastly, IEEE.

About the Interview[edit | edit source]

Patricia Thompson. An Interview Conducted by Mary Ann Hellrigel, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 26 June 2022.

Interview #874 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement[edit | edit source]

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA or ieee-history@ieee.org. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Patricia Thompson, an oral history conducted in 2009 by Mary Ann Hellrigel, IEEE History Center, Piscataway, NJ, USA.

Interview[edit | edit source]

INTERVIEWEE: Pat Thompson

INTERVIEWER: Mary Ann Hellrigel

DATE: 25 March 2022

PLACE: Virtual

Hellrigel:

Today is March 25th, 2022. This is Mary Ann Hellrigel from the IEEE History Center, and I'm with Patricia Thompson, who works for Technical Activities. She is retiring from IEEE after a thirty-one-year career, and she has agreed to record an oral history about her work life at IEEE. Thank you very much, Pat.

Thompson:

Oh, you're welcome. No problem.

Hellrigel:

You've come highly recommended. If you don't mind, I start the oral histories with a little bit of a family background. For example, where were you born and where did you grow up?

Thompson:

I was born in Plainfield, [New Jersey] and grew up in Plainfield. Then, once I got married, my husband and I moved to Dunellen, [New Jersey]. We had an apartment there, and then we settled at Piscataway. The past, probably close to thirty-nine, thirty-eight years, we lived in Piscataway. I'm very close to the IEEE, so the commute is nothing.

Hellrigel:

You've been in New Jersey your whole life?

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

In terms of education, what's your educational background?

Thompson:

Just high school because back then, they gave business courses in high school, your typing, shorthand you used to use to go to secretarial school, at the time, because that's really what administrators were, secretaries. You didn't really need to, I felt. I was able to get a job, another five minutes from my house. I've always worked in engineering, and this was an engineering and construction company, but I've always worked in the engineering field. That's just how it happened.

Thompson:

No, I lived in Plainfield, and I went to Catholic school, so I graduated from Union Catholic in Scotch Plains.

Hellrigel:

You started right out of high school, working?

Thompson:

Right out of high school, I worked at a company in Plainfield called Wick and Abbott. They were an engineer and construction company. I was there for a couple of years, and then I went to Lockheed Electronics, up on [Route] 22, a secretary in the engineering department, and then, they were moving out of state, and that's when I worked for Beecham Laboratories, which was on Possumtown Road, engineering department, and then, actually, in between there, I worked for a company called Amdahl. They made computers, and it still was kind of engineering. I was there for a couple of years, but they were moving farther away from what I wanted to commute, then I went to Beecham, and then, from Beecham, I went to IEEE.

Hellrigel:

With all of these companies, you said you did secretarial work, so what kind of work did that entail?

Thompson:

Some of it was typing up reports, and sometimes, in the beginning, I would take shorthand because back in the day you did that. That kind of went away. It was mostly reporting, anything they needed typed up, or a letter done. At that time, a lot of the guys would write something and give it to you to type up and make nice and give it to them. As it got further on, it was more administrative, either reports or different things that came up

Hellrigel:

So, for example, at Lockheed, you would be working with the people working on research and development?

Thompson:

The engineering department actually, back there, there was this one gentleman, William Bigley, and he got an IEEE award. I remember it. At the time, I didn't really even know what IEEE was, but he was very into doing patents and things like that. I was secretarial for the group, so whatever they needed typed up, reports and stuff, I would do for them.

Hellrigel:

It seems that you liked working for engineers, because then you jumped over to IEEE.

Thompson:

It just worked out that way. That's just the way it worked out. I've always worked with engineers.

Hellrigel:

How did you find out that IEEE was hiring?

Thompson:

I believe it was actually, a friend of mine, Barbara Kriney, who used to work here, many years ago. I think she told me about openings, and I applied.

Hellrigel:

You're hired, and which OU did you start to work for, Technical Activities?

Thompson:

Technical Activities. I always worked for Technical Activities.

Hellrigel:

What do you do? What's your job title and what do you do?

Thompson:

Currently, I am Administrator for Customer Operations. It's in the MCE group, which is Meetings, Conferences, and Events [IEEE Global Meetings, Conferences & Events Department]. So really, what I've been doing is conference applications. All around the world they're going to have a conference, so they submit their application. I process that. Any inquiry, they'll send emails; when's this conference taking place, any issues like that, I answer those. Conference publications, they send a PUP form in, we have to process that, and then once the proceedings are done, they send those in. Years ago, they used to send the actual book in, and my cube looked--I could almost not get in it sometimes because I'm getting four copies each of each proceeding that came in, so they would stack them, and we'd look through those. Everything comes in electronically now because it's much easier on your desk. I also--

Hellrigel:

When you got that book, what were you supposed to do with it? You got four copies of the--

Thompson:

We had to check the catalog numbers to make sure they had them correct. I also had to count the pages because at that time, that's how it was priced to sell, how many pages it was. The catalog numbers sometimes were wrong. If they were wrong, I had to produce a label to put on that, and then send the labels, I believe, to the warehouse. Then, at that time also, a set of books would go out to, they were called LEC Bookbinders. They would bind the books in this blue hard cover to send to the libraries, so that was also done. I also handled what is called the Information Line, and they say when is a conference taking place, I can't find information, I need to contact them, and also, I'm the contact for the customer service group, their contact. Because they'll get chats, and I can find the information for them to tell.

Hellrigel:

This is for all these conferences globally? Like, IEEE's 1900 conferences held in 2021. You were the contact person for 1,900 conferences?

Thompson:

Globally? If they needed to contact, yes. Some volunteers I've worked with for so long, like, Professor Zhao, he's in Beijing, and I've worked with him for over twenty years. They'll contact me directly, and I may not be working on the conference, but I'll copy who is, and tell them this person's handling it, they can help you. I have a couple volunteers like that, that just contact me directly, and I've told them I'm retiring from IEEE. When I retired they will all get that bounce back [email] when they try to contact me.

Hellrigel:

We'll come back to what you're doing right now. First, let's go back thirty-one years to when you started at Technical Activities. Did they put you through orientation in those days?

Thompson:

There was an orientation. I can't remember much about it, but we did have an orientation. My first impression was I couldn't believe how many women worked here, and not a lot of men, at that time.

Hellrigel:

What were the men doing who worked here?

Thompson:

They're mostly higher positions, directors, or heads of departments, from what I remember. That was my first impression that there were more women, and then, obviously, over the years, it's changed, but when I first started, that was what I thought. I never worked for a not-for-profit organization before, so that was different, also.

Hellrigel:

When you worked at the engineering companies, in your office, there were a lot of men because they were engineers?

Thompson:

A lot of men. Correct.

Hellrigel:

Then, you come here, and you're mostly in the admin world?

Thompson:

Correct.

Hellrigel:

So, support staff, so more women. When you were first hired, do you remember the name of your boss?

Thompson:

Oh, yes. Dino Sethi. Yes, he hired me.

Hellrigel:

He was Technical Activities. What did you do when you were first hired?

Thompson:

You're making me think. I did administrative work for him. I know under him, they developed all the Distinguished Lectures Program, and that's still in effect, but it's handled by another group. I can't remember the work to do, but obviously, the computers were older then. We also had an answering machine, not, voicemail, so you had an answering machine. If you weren't there, that's what took your phone calls to answer that, but they dealt with, thirty years ago, I can't remember everything straight at work.

Hellrigel:

When you showed up, that there were computers, there weren't typewriters on your desk?

Thompson:

There were computers. Yes.

Hellrigel:

There were answering machines?

Thompson:

Yes. Answering machines.

Hellrigel:

You have been at IEEE through a lot of technological change?

Thompson:

Yes. Yes. Definitely.

Hellrigel:

Now, did IEEE provide everyone with training, as they kept getting more advanced computers and tech of that nature?

Thompson:

There was always training offered, with different even programs, Word or Excel, and things that you could take training when they introduced something. There was training.

Hellrigel:

And was the technology, the computers that you had in your office here, comparable to what you had in your other jobs?

Thompson:

Well, from when I left Beecham, was the one, it's about the same computer when I came here, and obviously, then it got better, as the years have gone on. The technology has gotten better.

Hellrigel:

Do you remember anything distinctly about the technological change?

Thompson:

It used to have a disc to put in for certain things. Yes. It was a small little screen.

Thompson:

One screen. Now, I could have two screens. Yes. It makes it nicer, you can take your laptop home with you if you have to work from home, now, so that's a great thing. Snowstorm, yes, we'll still work, connect in. There was starting to connect, because I did work a little bit at home, at my own computer at home, and they said about that I could log in.

Hellrigel:

Dial in?

Thompson:

Yes. Dial in.

Hellrigel:

With all the sshhh noise when you dialed up and made the connection?

Thompson:

Yes. A long time ago. I was able to do that.

Hellrigel:

So, if sometimes there was a snowstorm, you could stay home and work?

Thompson:

Right. So, it was nice.

Hellrigel:

Technical Activities never end, and you're working with Technical Activities and you're working for Dino. If we go through the different bosses, who did you work for after Dino?

Thompson:

After Dino, I went over to Relationship Conferences and that was Perry Sensi. He handled, I'm trying to think, because I also worked for Harry Strickholm. And I’m not --

Hellrigel:

Were these Directors of Technical Activities or just your direct boss?

Thompson:

Directors of different departments or in the group, in the Technical Activities sense, there's so many different groups.

Thompson:

It was all conference service. Perry left and then I think Mary Ann Dewald took over, and then, maybe I worked for Harry.

Hellrigel:

Mary Ann Dewald is going to be the first woman you had as a boss at IEEE?

Thompson:

At IEEE, yes.

Hellrigel:

You mentioned that most of the managers were men, did you notice any changes around when changes were taking place with more--nowadays, excuse me, I'm mumbling a bit, but nowadays, there's talk about upward mobility and career growth at IEEE. There's concern about hiring from within, were some of the women being promoted to more managerial positions?

Thompson:

I really can't remember back that far.

Hellrigel:

To the 1990s.

Thompson:

I know Mary Ann worked in the group, so when Perry left, she was promoted. She was already in there. I already was working with her, so she was promoted within the group to the manager, taking over. That's really the only woman, because it was Harry, and then Mark Vasquez. I worked for him, and then, they switched it over. Now, I work for a woman, but then it was Kevin Dresely, who took it over. Now, I work for Kathy Burke. Kathy Burke and Jodi Merizalde are they're both mangers. Jodi's a Senior Manager and Kathy is my direct manager.

Hellrigel:

This is all in MCE?

Thompson:

Correct.

Hellrigel:

You've spent nearly your entire IEEE career with what's now MCE?

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

Wow. How has MCE changed over time? I mean, I'm asking you a lot for thirty years, but describe your experience.

Thompson:

It's broken off into different sections. We used to be just Conferences, now it's MCE, so it's evolved into different products that they do. They do more. Leah does like Customer Audience. Different things have evolved with the conference world and how they're trying to keep up, so we're broken off in our own way, than what it used to be, different demands from the conferences.

Hellrigel:

Okay. So, you have Customer Audience, what's the next group?

Thompson:

There's Registration, they do handle some registration or, I can't think - -, what they do. With the virtual, now, there's a whole group in our group that helps set up virtual conferences. So, that's there. There are changes like that. They have evolved. I'm trying to think. They have more of an IT presence, like with our system there's two people that handle any changes and stuff, or they're there to implement anything that that society wants something new, they want to do something different with an application, like, the application of all different societies could have, when their society submits one, maybe it's a different route that it goes, than a normal route. So, we have somebody there that does the programing for that.

Finance has taken on different things, too. Different TCS fees they're called, so that's come into play. They have to handle that. So, there's all different things that have evolved with conferences as they grow.

Hellrigel:

Since you were with Conferences, have you seen the staff grow, too?

Thompson:

Oh, yes. Definitely. Even my little group. We're up to ten now; that’s including the managers. So, yes. I used to handle, back when I was with like, Mary Ann and stuff, the conference publications only. I was the only one that handled it, and at the time, when we got to 500, it was like, wow, we couldn't believe—500. Now, we're close to 2,000, so that is amazing in itself. I used to be the only one that handled it, but now, all of us in the group have to handle public because there's so many. There's so many that come in

Hellrigel:

Oh, wow. But at least you don’t get four copies of each.

Thompson:

No, thank God. No. No, no. It's so much easier that way.

Hellrigel:

With the publication that used to be IT, IEEE Press?

Thompson:

No, they can do their own publications and send it in. They don't have to use IEEE Publishing. Ann Burgmeyer, who retired; that group up there could do some. They still have IEEE Publishing. They handle some conferences, but there's so many that there's other different publishing houses, like, Omni Press or there's one in Princeton. It's around like, I can't remember off the top of my head, but there's other publishing houses they can use, or sometimes the conference produces it themselves. If it's not that big, they can produce it themselves, right now, because all they're sending in, is a PDF file.

Hellrigel:

You mentioned switching to virtual, we've got nearly 2,000 conferences, has your workday changed? Basically, the Operations Center works eight to five, but IEEE is global now. Has this impacted you and your staff? For example, is there someone at your office that's answering the issues twenty-four-hours-a-day?

Thompson:

No, not ours. No. Customer service has twenty-four-hours, and if they get emails in, then, they'll switch them to us, but no. At one time, we had a person in our group, she's moved on to another group, that was doing India for a while. She would work the night shift because they were trying to get that area of the world up to snuff, or they had issues and stuff like that, so of course--I forget for how long, she would work like, I forget, during the night because that's when India--but that's gone away. Now we're just our regular work hours.

Hellrigel:

Do you have any conferences that are your favorites, to work with or more memorable?

Thompson:

Years ago, finally, they let each one of us go to a conference to observe, because we're answering these phone calls. Some of it I didn't understand their questions, so it was very nice. I got to go to IMS in Canada, which was really, actually three conferences in one. I knew a lot of the people that organized it and I knew the conference management team I had worked with forever, so it was so nice to go there and meet them in person. Then, I even got to meet a couple of their volunteers. I got to understand, like I didn't know what a poster session was, so I got to see what a poster session was and the whole thing. It was a really nice experience and I really enjoyed it.

Hellrigel:

IMS is the [International Microwaves Symposium]?

Thompson:

IMS, yes, it's three conferences in one.

Hellrigel:

It's run by one of IEEE’s societies? [The IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is the premier annual international meeting for technologists involved in all aspects of microwave theory and practice.]

Thompson:

Elsie Vega [Event Program Manager, Technical Activities], who's part of the conference registrar, Conference and Meetings, whatever group. She's handled that meeting for years and I believe she still does. It's a huge meeting, and I was lucky enough to go to that one.

Hellrigel:

Who came up with the idea that it's finally a good idea to send you and your colleagues to see a conference? Did you ask, or--?

Thompson:

I think Marie Hunter [Senior Director and Head of Global Meetings, Conferences, and Events, Technical Activities] came up with it, when she first started, but I'm not sure. Like I said, it was nice, because then we got to see what happened at registration, or anything that happened, that gave me a little more background, when I get calls or emails, or authors or whatever. So, it gave me a little more insight on what was going on.

Hellrigel:

Have you traveled to any other conferences?

Thompson:

The only other place I went to, they have the--it's called TAB [Technical Activities Board] meetings, three times a year. I did go to Washington, D.C., one year, and I presented at that. It was all for the volunteers. We tell them how to submit an application, or something. It was more informative and it was also nice because a lot of volunteers I've worked with attended, so I got to meet them, also, face-to-face.

Hellrigel:

They probably liked to have the presentation because sometimes figuring out the system can be terrible for them, too. You went to the TAB meeting and now, virtual meetings. Do you sit in on TAB meetings or anything like that?

Thompson:

No. Not now. We used to go to the ones when they were held in New Brunswick, but they stopped. They would have us come over, but we haven’t done that in a while.

Hellrigel:

When you would go over to those conferences in New Brunswick, what did you do?

Thompson:

We would sit in on the committee portion of it.

Hellrigel:

Okay. Yes, I remember they used to have a lot of action at that conference. The other thing, too, is they would sometimes have a meeting or so at the Operations Center, because we would bring in different groups to tour the Archive.

Thompson:

Right. Anything else.

Hellrigel:

Now, you're looking and you're dealing with a number of societies and such. What is your opinion, perspective or observation about society growth from your work with meetings and conferences

Thompson:

How they've grown?

Hellrigel:

Yes, growth and diversity. Does the spectrum of societies and conferences seem more diverse? I mean, like I said, it comes down to conference growth, right? Have you seen any trends? For example, you said that maybe when you started your career at IEEE there were maybe, what 500 or so conferences, far fewer than today. Now we're up to almost 2,000 conferences annually. Would you like to comment on that? Like, your observations about watching this?

Thompson:

Right. I see more conferences being sponsored by more chapters and regions, and then, their chapter is associated with a society. I see a lot more growth in that way, the chapters or the sections.

Hellrigel:

Okay. Just jotting down my notes.

Thompson:

Sure.

Hellrigel:

Are there any chapters or societies that are more active than others, or that you worked with more closely?

Thompson:

For awhile there, I did work with the SMC society [IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society]. They get in what they want, their exceptions, so now, it's more--it's just regular, then it goes on. But I did work a little bit more with SMC for awhile, Sam, and I can't remember his last name, would contact me.

Sometimes I worked with the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society [IEEE AP-S]. I worked with have Ross Stone at AP-S, and when I told him I was leaving, he looked upset. And like I said, Professor Zhao was in the Beijing section, and he would contact me if he had any issues or had a question.

Hellrigel:

Yes. That's a big change during your career, this opening up in China.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

Would you like to comment about that?

Thompson:

We do have Helen May who's part of the IEEE Beijing office, and she is part of, I believe she's part of Technical Activities, because if we have any issues, or she helps out a lot with conferences there. They just come in, and I mean, I enjoyed working with Professor Zhao. He's always very nice.

Hellrigel:

Now IEEE has a few offices in China; however, are most of the people you work with out of Beijing. We've got Singapore. We've got Tokyo. Do you work with any of those offices, too?

Thompson:

No. No. It's mostly Beijing.

Hellrigel:

Beijing? Yes, there's a lot of activity in Beijing. How has actually working with Beijing changed over time, or has it? I mean, when you first started, probably everything's what, by telephone, or early email?

Thompson:

It was telephone or email, mostly email. I don't know if I've ever really talked to Professor Zhao on the phone. It's mostly emails, because obviously, the time change, too. Helen May has come in [to the IEEE Operations Center in Piscataway]. Every couple of years she does come into the office, so we did get to meet Helen and we've seen her a couple of times.

Hellrigel:

You mentioned a lot by email. However, in the 1990s much of the work must have been done by paper mail, the U.S. Post mail?

Thompson:

Some. I remember, a lot we used to microfiche proceedings. Yes. Proceedings would be microfiched. They had the library downstairs in the basement and the library would get a copy of the Proceedings. They would have them down there, I don't know for how long, before they would archive them. It used to be a lot of paper files, like the file cabinets. We would file the application and everything like that, and any correspondence would go in the conference file. It's much nicer now that we could just PDF something into the archive, instead of all that paper.

Hellrigel:

It's all archived on your server or external drive.

Thompson:

Each conference had a provider’s number. Yes, each conference has a record number, so it gets archived into there.

Hellrigel:

They keep the Proceedings from the conference, and you keep up the contracts and background documents, like you have a said document you archive?

Thompson:

The PUP form and different things, or any kind of--if we need a copyright for the permission and things like that, anything dealing with the publication, would be in the archive. Any correspondence we may get, or anything. It's nicer now, because I remember having stacks of filing, I'd have to do, to go into all of those file cabinets then, and file them away. This is much easier.

Hellrigel:

What did they do with these file cabinets? They digitized this paper, or they just sent it to the shredder, or--?

Thompson:

I believe they sent it somewhere, I can't remember.

Hellrigel:

Oh, okay.

Thompson:

They sent it to - -.

Hellrigel:

Iron Mountain.

Thompson:

Excuse me?

Hellrigel:

They maybe sent it offsite to Iron Mountain.

Thompson:

Maybe.

Hellrigel:

That's offsite storage.

Thompson:

Yes. Yes. Maybe.

Hellrigel:

Okay. That's a big change.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

Did anybody miss not looking at the paper files?

Thompson:

I didn't. No. I didn't. It was much easier to look up, go in the archive, and find it.

Hellrigel:

I know the place I am in, Building 3, now, used to have a microfiche reader. I believe it was for BDRS. It took a while for the transition, but the PDF has saved a lot of space, office space, anyway.

Thompson:

Yes. Because, yes, it had all those file cabinets lined up on the aisle, and yes. Even the microfiche, we had it up there with us, too.

Hellrigel:

Drawers and drawers.

Thompson:

Drawers. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Do you remember around when the change was? Like, 2000? 2010?

Thompson:

No. No.

Hellrigel:

You were just happy when it happened?

Thompson:

I was happy when it happened. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Somebody asked me to ask you, over the years, there've been different data packages or programs.

Thompson:

Yes, programs.

Hellrigel:

These are people that have been with the IEEE, or what I call the Company, for thirty plus years, also. I don't know if you want to talk about data packages? This comes down to, how you do your work?

Thompson:

A lot of things were sometimes a manual effort, so with this last one, we have OWS. I used to have to keep a log of ISBNs to assign to each proceeding. Now, the system does it. It was one great improvement because I used to have to keep the log and Excel spreadsheet, but now, it's loaded into the system, and it automatically does it. So, I somewhat think this has been good, but also, like any system, it has its faults, or it goes down and it gets frustrating sometimes, if it's not working. But on the whole, there's still some manual inputs that have to be done, which could lead to, obviously, a mistake by a human. Which would like to have changed, but for the most part, it runs okay.

Hellrigel:

With OWS, what type of packages did they have beforehand? Like, if you looked at your work, how has it, I don't know, been increasingly automated or automated differently? How did they try to use computer technology to computerize what you do? If I'm asking it correctly.

Thompson:

Yes. I know. I'm trying to think. The one thing is the ISBN, there are different--the applications just come in the mail for a conference, now they're done online, so we get them online, or a publication. Now, they can go online, and instead of submitting a paper version of it, or faxing that in, so that's a great improvement, because now, they can do all that. Things like that, the forms that they need to submit, can now all be done online, now, instead of manual, and filling them out and mailing them in or faxing them to us.

Hellrigel:

Yes. The fax machine.

Thompson:

I haven't faxed anything in a long time.

Hellrigel:

You were there when the fax machine was something new or at least newish?

Thompson:

Newish.

Hellrigel:

Then could fax it in and instead of mailing it in?

Thompson:

Correct. Right. We got a lot of faxes. An application would be faxed, a PUB form would be faxed, whatever was needed would be faxed in, but now they can PDF something and send it to us, so that that's much nicer. Or, they can even submit the forms online.

Hellrigel:

Did getting it faxed in cause any trouble, versus mailing it in? Like, did you have a backup receiving faxes or long rolls and rolls of in-coming faxes?

Thompson:

Sometimes the fax would not work right, it'd be all messed up, or maybe someone took your fax and didn't realize it. Yes, mailing in was okay.

Hellrigel:

Do you still have anybody that wants to mail it in?

Thompson:

Every now and then, we do get conferences that, even when we were out, home during the COVID pandemic, that want to mail in their--and they did mail in their proceedings. We're like, no, you've got to do it electronically, because we can't accept a hard copy anymore. It's got to be electronic.

Thompson:

I'm trying to think, because I looked at the mail bin the other day. On all the stations, they have those slots for each department, one.

Hellrigel:

Right.

Thompson:

For the hell of it, I just looked, and no, there's nothing in there for us. I remember they used to come around with the intraoffice mail, from the mailroom.

Hellrigel:

Yes, you probably used to have your own containers dropped off.

Thompson:

Yes. And now we don't do that anymore, or the intraoffice envelopes, nobody intraoffice envelope--sends anything anymore really.

Hellrigel:

No.

Thompson:

No. So, that's all changed. Occasionally, I'll get the trinkets for the archive collection; the little memorabilia and pins for awards and that. There used to be a mail lady come around all the time with her cart and mail and stuff, in the beginning, and for a while there, and now, it's more if a package comes in.

Hellrigel:

You had mentioned working from home, so if we--during the Covid, you had to, I think the PC word is "pivot," and then you went to working from home, nearly for two years. Did you have to come in any during those two years? No?

Thompson:

No. It was funny because I used to work from home. Oh, I had a work-from-home day on Wednesdays before all this began, so I was used to working from home. When they said we had to go home, it was supposed to last two weeks and they we would be back. Well, it wasn't only two weeks. I took what I thought was most of my stuff, but there were a couple of things that I was missing from my desk. Luckily, a very nice the maintenance staff member, Keith [Cals], helped. I said, "Here's my cellphone number," because I said I needed something, "Call me when you get to my desk, Facetime me. Just go around my desk, and I'll tell you what I need," and he did, and he put in a box, and it was great. It was out front on the circle there, and all I had to do was go pick it up. So that was wonderful.

Hellrigel:

Yes, Keith is great. He helped me with mail services when the IEEE History Center’s move from the Stevens Institute of Technology campus to the IEEE Operations Center. We made the move during COVID.

During the COIVD pandemic, Facilities, the warehouse crew, and Security held down the fort at the Operations Center. I went to the Archives a few times.

Thompson:

Yes. They're about the only ones here. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Right.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

During the COIVD pandemic your work at home, so, you're telecommuting five days a week, like the rest of us. Did your work change because you worked from home everyday?

Thompson:

I don't think so. Actually, in some ways, we all said we got more done at home, because when you're in the office, you're chitchatting with somebody you see, "Oh, somebody," and especially, that first day back, recently, we're like, we're not getting anything done today, because we're talking to everybody. But I found I was able to get everything done that I really needed to get done at home, and if I had a question or something, I mean, the correspondence back and forth, or connecting with somebody was not a difficult thing at all. We had our staff meetings once a week, if anything came up, so I did fine at home.

Hellrigel:

Yes.

Thompson:

I was lucky enough, I have my daughter's old bedroom, so I have a dedicated space to be at, and I don't have little ones, so, for me, it was fine.

Hellrigel:

No fur-babies to monitor you?

Thompson:

I do have a fur-baby, but my husband's also home, so he takes care of him.

Hellrigel:

What I found interesting, during the Covid, is meeting various family members.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

Little doggies and cats.

Thompson:

Yes. Yes, no, he's been here, and around, but my husband has been home, so he goes with my husband. They leave me alone.

Hellrigel:

Initially, the History Center used WebEx for staff meetings and now we use Google Meet.

Thompson:

Like, some do WebEx, and everybody’s on, so everybody saw one another.

Hellrigel:

Usually, we got rid of the video because some people lived in areas with bandwidth issues.

Thompson:

Oh.

Hellrigel:

We went to audio. Did you enjoy working at home those two years?

Thompson:

I did. I love my sweatpants. I loved getting up ten after seven and my coffee is already made out there. I get myself dressed, I come here at 7:30 a.m. and I'm on. Oh, I never had a bad commute to begin with, but especially, like yesterday, it was a nasty day and that's my work from home day, so I was glad to be home. Like, weather like that, and then the nice weather, when it's lunchtime, I just go outside on my patio and have lunch, so it was nice.

Hellrigel:

During the COVID pandemic you are home and working from home. Since you are really working on a computer all the time, it doesn't matter where you work?

Thompson:

No, it does not.

Hellrigel:

The other question I had, before you came to IEEE, did you consider any other companies in the area?

Thompson:

Actually, I remember I put an application into AT&T, it used to be around here, right?

Hellrigel:

Yes.

Thompson:

I forgot all about that, the interview, the day I started IEEE, and that, that was odd for me that I forgot all about that they contacted me. But probably in the long run, it was for the best, because they all left here, so I would've been out of a job again. I was just looking really, for something close to home. I didn't want to travel because of my children.

Hellrigel:

The work/life balance was working at IEEE, did you have managers that were flexible, like for example, if your child was sick, you were able to take time off?

Thompson:

Yes. I'm leaving 117 sick days because I would save my sick days for my children, and then I just never used them. But no, they were good about it, if you had an issue and your child was sick.

Hellrigel:

Right. You lose the sick time. It accumulates to the max of 100 day for more recent hires. In the past, you could accumulate more than 100 days. Either way, you do not get paid for unused sick time.

Thompson:

We lose the sick time. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Yes. Since you've been at IEEE thirty-one years, your annual vacation was twenty-eight days per year or more?

Thompson:

I have thirty-five days, I think.

Hellrigel:

That was a reason to stay.

Thompson:

Yes. Yes, the compensation is really, really good because after the first year you get eighteen days. At ten years you get the twenty-four, but now, thirty-five. That sick time gets accumulated and, and the medical benefits and everything were always very good. I always carried the medical benefits because I mine were always better. And then, the flexibility, when they started work from home, or the hours I wanted, so for me, like I said, close to home, so - -.

Hellrigel:

Did you ever do the summer hours, where you worked a little longer and then you ended the week at midday Friday?

Thompson:

No, because working from home on Wednesdays was good enough for me. That, for me, was fine. I never did summer hours.

Hellrigel:

I don't know if it's too personal, but how did you take care of the kids? Were they little when you were working for IEEE? Like, what did they do in the summer, and after hours, and things like that?

Thompson:

I was very fortunate that my babysitter lives right around the block from me. That's where they went, and they've a bunch of kids and some neighborhood kids, and she was great. She never hardly called out sick herself, and I took vacation when she took vacation. Yes, she was great. I was very fortunate because even when they started school, she--the bus stop or whatever, until they got into middle school, is when though, I let them come home by themselves, because I was so close. I was very fortunate that way.

Hellrigel:

A couple of weeks ago I went home a different way, and I noticed Piscataway's high school is just a stone's throw from our office on Hoes Lane.

Thompson:

Yes. Yes.

Hellrigel:

That's where your children went to school?

Thompson:

Both my girls went. Yes. They were close. It was convenient because they were both in the band, marching band, so during football season and stuff, if I had to leave early for a game, I was able to, or get there close, or if they had any issues I was right there. Yes, it was very convenient.

Hellrigel:

You've like working at IEEE?

Thompson:

Yes. I've met a lot of people, and I'll have a lot of friendships that I will--, that's the one part I will miss, is the people.

Hellrigel:

I know Charlotte McCue's one of your buddies.

Thompson:

Yes, she is.

Hellrigel:

And so, you've made some friends. I'm always surprised that there isn’t an IEEE retirees’ group, or maybe there is a group.

Thompson:

Not that I know of.

Hellrigel:

It sounds like a job for Charlotte.

Thompson:

Yes. Oh, yes, you know Charlotte. Yes, she organizes many things, many things, but she's good. She's good. She started with - -, she worked upstairs in Customer Service, then she came down to us, and that's how I got to meet her, when she started to work for our group.

Hellrigel:

Yes, now she's over with the BDRS group in CAT. When I started working at IEEE almost seven years ago I heard the phrase silos. There is so much talk about silos? Do you feel that there's too many silos, like, do you know what else goes on at IEEE

Thompson:

Maybe it's me, I know somethings. Sometimes you're just focused on what you have to do for your job, but if I need help from another group, I usually don't have a problem reaching out and finding that group to help me. I've never run into that issue where someone said, "No, I can't. I'm not going to help you." So, I focus on what I have to do, and if I have an issue or if I have someone that calls in that I'm not sure where they should talk to, I find out where. I've never had that issue of no one's going to help me

Hellrigel:

Technical Activities, has that OU grown since you've been here?

Thompson:

Oh, yes. Oh, yes, because we used to only be where like Mary Ward-Callan is-- that whole section. Where we are, where I am now, that used to be Standards.

Hellrigel:

Oh, okay. Now they're in the other building?

Thompson:

So, we moved--right. When they moved, our group moved more people and took over all that area, so it has grown. Plus, upstairs, the societies-- DMP, Single Processing, downstairs, so we're all over the place. So, yes, it's grown quite a bit

Hellrigel:

So, yes, there's some people then that work for IEEE and work for a specific society. Then, you work with them closely, when they're working on their conferences?

Thompson:

Yes. Some, yes. Some societies have in-house directors, so it makes it easier if they have an issue or there's a problem. You can go directly to them, or they can come directly to us, if they have an issue.

Hellrigel:

Yes, that's one of the benefits now that we're back in the office. Sometimes doing something by email, all this bouncing and back and forth, takes too much time. Sometimes just walking down the hallway or telling somebody you'll meet them in the café, enables you to settle the matter and get squared away more quickly.

Thompson:

Right. Right. Right.

Hellrigel:

You've been there thirty-one years, I know Charlotte McCue’s one of your buddies, any other close friends you've worked - -?

Thompson:

My group, I have Tara and Allison, and Kathy. My whole group, I consider close friends. I have a friend, Loriello who works in MCE. I don't get to see her but correspond. I've a lot of different people that, I'm trying to think. It was nice when they put my retirement up on Inside IEEE because people have reached out, even from the Washington D.C. office, the Computer Society, Maggie Johnson, - - I haven't worked with her a long time, but she contacted me, so, people like that, that have worked outside, a lot of them have contacted me. Like, Adam Philippidis, I've worked with him for a long time. It was nice that people reached out. That's what I'll miss, is the people. I hope to keep in contact with them.

Hellrigel:

Yes. Put up yourself up on LinkedIn. They'll find you.

Thompson:

They'll find me.

Hellrigel:

The other thing is, there have been some other retirees leaving, so are any of your friends retiring at this point, too?

Thompson:

No. I think I'm the first one. Cheryl Smith, retired right when Covid started, so she didn't really have the opportunity to say a good-bye or whatever. I'm going to see her next Thursday, she's coming to my lunch. I've been wanting to get together with her, but with everything going on, we're kind of waiting to see warmer weather to get together with her. I'm looking forward to seeing her. But that's the only other, I'm trying to think, in our group, that have--Not too many people have retired from our group. I think a lot will be coming up to retirement because they're all up in my age bracket, so I think the next couple of years you'll see that.

Hellrigel:

Have the ones in your age bracket, have they been long-term employees?

Thompson:

More than ten years, yes. I'm not sure how long.

Hellrigel:

You've had some stability then, it's not a constant turnover.

Thompson:

No. And no, MCE, no, there's mostly, I'm trying to think. Only a couple people from Finance left, - - they're younger, but for the most— part, like, my position is open, now if they hired somebody for me, and we just had one other one, but our group has kind of either added on, because we've gotten so busy and the core group has really stayed, like Tara, myself and Allison, Kathy Burke, Jodi, we've all been together for a while, a long time

Hellrigel:

Sometimes there's movement within IEEE if some people move from other OUs into working with you?

Thompson:

We got Elaine Webb, and she came, I think, from the Contact Center, maybe two, three years ago, into our group, and then Lauren was hired from outside to add on. Like for the most part, we've stayed together.

Hellrigel:

What do you like most about your job?

Thompson:

I really enjoyed talking to the people and helping the volunteers because I, myself, hate waiting for an answer. I like my answers, and then, I felt sorry for them, they're volunteers, this is not their regular job. I try and help them as best as I can and answer their questions quickly or find the answer. I have enjoyed like, I've made a lot of different friendships, or even within the departments, if people have a question, because I myself, like, I hate waiting for an answer. Like, this thing for Social Security is driving me crazy. So, I want something resolved with the answer.

Hellrigel:

Good luck with that one. My neighbors have had similar challenges.

Thompson:

Yes, it's lots of fun.

Hellrigel:

Yes. If it's not an annoying question, what do you like the least about your job?

Thompson:

The changes. So many changes.

Hellrigel:

Can you give me some examples?

Thompson:

The exceptions. Each society may have an exception, so you have to sit there for a minute and think, okay, this one wants it done this way. Okay, this one wants it that way. That part gets a little confusing or it takes more time. Like, I wish everything was just the same.

Hellrigel:

A standard?

Thompson:

Yes. But unfortunately, it isn't, so we just live with it. I take a lot of notes. I have a lot of printout; I go through them to make sure I'm following what they want to be done.

Hellrigel:

Are there any societies that are memorable, that you're working with? You said SMC [IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society] and AP-S [IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society]

Thompson:

Those two and paraengineering, because they have an inhouse staff. I've worked a lot with those people. I’ve worked closely with Signal Processing [IEEE Signal Processing Society] and EMB [IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society]. The ones inhouse are also very, because I've had close communication or contact with them, had a rapport with all of them, that work in those societies, that are inhouse.

Hellrigel:

Another question, I don't know if I'm phrasing it right, you like working at IEEE, have you ever thought of leaving?

Thompson:

No. No, I really haven't. No.

Hellrigel:

You mentioned that things you liked about IEEE, that benefits were pretty good, anything else? Like, why stay?

Thompson:

Why stay? The people. I think I really enjoyed working with who I worked with, and I did enjoy the work. Lately, with everything going on, it's gotten a little more challenging, which makes it a little more--sometimes more frustrating in what you can do and what you can't do for them, but I've always enjoyed the working with the people.

Hellrigel:

What do you mean by what you can and can't do for them? Like, they've asked questions you don't have the answer to?

Thompson:

I don't have the answer or there may be, they can't do that, the society wants it this way or that way. It's different things that come up that you can't handle or you have to wait for the answer, can we do this, or there's something going on right now, so you have to hold that application until they figure something out, like stuff like that.

Hellrigel:

Oh, like you hold the application because IT's figuring something out, or the society?

Thompson:

No, the society, or there's an issue because they have to be a not-for-profit organization sponsoring it. You have to explain that to them, and you have to wait for them to understand no, that company can't sponsor your conference. They can support it, patron it, but you have to find another sponsor.

Hellrigel:

Right.

Thompson:

Stuff like that comes up.

Hellrigel:

Did the switch to virtual conferences during the COVID pandemic impact you?

Thompson:

Not us, we just have to know if it's virtual or not, more so the group that handles virtual or hybrid, is a group that helps the conferences set that up. They probably have more of impact than for us, no. We just have to know which type of event it's going to be, so that we can note it in the database.

Hellrigel:

I noticed up on the second floor there's an office that's MCE where there's meetings and conferences office?

Thompson:

Oh, I think that's the Quality group right at the top of the stairs, almost? Yes, that's the Quality group. That's Conference Quality.

Hellrigel:

What's Conference Quality?

Thompson:

Certain conferences are earmarked to have their papers reviewed.

Hellrigel:

Oh, okay. That is peer review and things like that; verification.

Thompson:

Right. The content.

Hellrigel:

The content, the research, is peer reviewed.

Thompson:

Yes, the content.

Hellrigel:

Yes, I know there were a couple of issues in the past, even academics trying to publish the same paper a number of times. That’s challenging.

Thompson:

Right.

Hellrigel:

How do you know when you're ready to retire from IEEE?

Thompson:

Truly. I always knew, I turned sixty-five in December, and I have other people who have worked for IEEE, two very close friends that retired and they told me don't wait until--because I really should go to sixty-six and four months, according to Social Security. They said don't wait, it's not worth it. It's just time. I want to enjoy the rest of my life, enough working now, hopefully, and then, my husband had also turned sixty-five next month. He was laid off in the beginning of the pandemic, and never got rehired, and we're like, sixty-three, who's going to hire him? He's home, so I think it's time, and somebody said it's a little scary, but my sister lives down the street, she's retired. I have retiree friends, and I just want to enjoy. I've had I think, enough.

Hellrigel:

Enough? If Covid breaks vacation plans or--?

Thompson:

Like I told you, I retired on April 5th, and our youngest daughter gets married on April 8th. She should’ve go married last year.

Hellrigel:

Good luck.

Thompson:

Then on the 14th, my husband and I are going on a ten-day cruise, which we should've went on two years ago. April's a little busy, so we start off busy.

Hellrigel:

Yes, so I had to catch you today.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

That's fantastic that you know you have your health, and you have these events to look forward to in April. You see to have enjoyed your career at IEEE.

Thompson:

I did.

Hellrigel:

You got to meet some interesting people at IEEE. Would you like to comment how the culture has changed over time, or stayed the same? I mean, there seems to a lot of people that have become close work friends.

Thompson:

I keep telling them, I'm still in town. Come out on Green Acres and take a walk with me. I'll be around. Give me a call, if I'm available, we can do lunch. I don't want to lose the friendships or the connections I have because I will miss a certain amount of people, that I really value their friendship.

Hellrigel:

Are going to miss that first day at 7:30 a.m. when you do not have to VPN in?

Thompson:

No. No. Even though it's not bad, especially now, but no, I like just getting up and having a cup of coffee and just sitting there for awhile, or whatever, and not have to worry. Even though my queue in is not bad, in the winter, especially, I won't miss it. I hate the winter.

Hellrigel:

What's the process for retiring? I know you have papers to do with HR. Do you take your computer and drop it off at the Fixit window?

Thompson:

I don't know

Hellrigel:

You don't know?

Thompson:

Those IT people were wonderful to me. I have to say that staff helped out. If I had an issue, they always were right there for me. I try not to bother them too much. I had a couple, even at home, my password wouldn't work, or whatever, but they've always been great, too. I will miss them for my computer issues.

Hellrigel:

Do you remember when you made the transition from a desktop to a laptop?

Thompson:

Kind of. It was nice. Then for the longest time, I just used the docking station and just the one screen. I couldn't believe people had two screens. Then I went to the two screens, and I love two screens. I'm going to gift myself a new computer because mine's old, and I will have two screens because I really enjoyed the two screens. That was one thing I didn't do it for the longest time, and then once I did, I can't go back.

Hellrigel:

Yes. I haven't made that jump, but I did make the jump where my screen is now attached to an arm that comes out of my cubicle. I am no longer reading off the small laptop screen at the office. Now the screen is much larger and I can actually see the screen much better because it is on a stand and eye-height for me. I am very short, so having an adjustable screen at eye-level is a significant improvement. The adjustable arm means the screen is no longer at a weird height for me.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

I don't know if there's anything else you'd like to add about your experience?

Thompson:

About my experience? No, it's hard to believe, thirty-one years, truthfully, almost thirty-two, that I've been there. I enjoyed working at home, but I am kind of glad we came back for a little bit, because I really did want to see people before I left. Some people I'll continue to see, but some people I probably won't see, and make that connection, so it was, I don't know about everybody's glad to be back, I mean, if we just--but I'm glad we came back for a little bit so I could see people to say good-bye.

Hellrigel:

Yes. And then, you have some adventures ahead, and I'll have to look up Mr. Bigley, and see which IEEE award he one. You're Lockheed Martin.

Thompson:

Yes, that was a long time ago. I remember him getting something.

Hellrigel:

You had the friend that suggested you apply to IEEE, but you looked at AT&T, and at that point, there were a lot of pharmaceutical corporations in New Jersey.

Thompson:

I applied everywhere within the area, and IEEE was the one that won out. They offered me the job. I interviewed and they offered me the job, so here we go.

Hellrigel:

Back in that day, you interviewed in person, not virtual?

Thompson:

Yes. No virtual.

Hellrigel:

You had to go through one interview, two interviews?

Thompson:

I think only one. I think only one interview. I remember, I think it was only one.

Hellrigel:

Then you came aboard.

Thompson:

Then I came aboard.

Hellrigel:

You started with Conferences, and would you have liked to jump to any other part of IEEE? Did you ever look to move around?

Thompson:

I looked at different job opportunities, but nothing really appealed to me. I liked what I was doing, so I stayed.

Hellrigel:

Conferences certainly is a busy office.

Thompson:

It's always changing. Always. It's busy and it's always changing. What's ever going on in the world, or how they're doing conferences, or what they want to do, so.

Hellrigel:

Were there times where there were some places in world where we couldn't hold conferences?

Thompson:

Right. And there still is. We have a list.

Hellrigel:

Oh, you have a list?

Thompson:

Yes, we have a list.

Hellrigel:

Where can't we hold conferences, like, North Korea or maybe Iran?

Thompson:

North Korea? No, we can't do North Korea.

Hellrigel:

Right.

Thompson:

We do South Korea. Like, Iran, we can do a conference there, but they have to fill out a form, a Technical Program questionnaire, and there's--it's only could be technically sponsored by the Iran section, and the - - university issue, that's a finance, and then well, no money is exchanged at all. To Certain areas like that, how they are.

Hellrigel:

Yes. At the time when you joined, how about South Africa?

Thompson:

I only remember doing a couple conferences from there, not too many.

Hellrigel:

The “who decides” is the State Department. The U.S. State Department decides.

Thompson:

I think they get notifications of what you can and cannot do. And then it comes down to us.

Hellrigel:

I know with Iran, even getting journals into the country was problematic and financial transactions were banned, too. There was a time where you couldn't send publications into Iran, because it was a sanctioned/banned country.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

That's not the proper word. You’re not officially recognized.

Thompson:

Right. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Are there any countries that are easier to work with? Maybe that is a question for the Finance Department?

Thompson:

Yes. Yes, that'd be more finance because with us, if they get the sponsorship, if everything's okay, we go through with it.

Hellrigel:

As long as they're non-profit.

Thompson:

As long as they're not-for-profit.

Hellrigel:

Oh, a not-for-profit.

Thompson:

Not-for-profit.

Hellrigel:

You said that IEEE's your first not-for-profit, non-profit you're working for and was it anything different that stuck out, compared to Lockheed Martin, or the others, because we were not-profit?

Thompson:

No, not really. The only thing, not-for-profit is how I handle the applications, and that's really what stood out as far as, as being not-for-profit. But other than that--

Hellrigel:

Just making sure everything along the way is not-for-profit?

Thompson:

Right. Right. That's really the only thing. The other jobs are more scientific or technical, typing up their papers, or things like that, or whatever, as to--

Hellrigel:

And patents?

Thompson:

Patents, yes. Patents.

Hellrigel:

Yes. All that classified information.

Thompson:

I had classified clearance at Lockheed.

Hellrigel:

Wow.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

Because they did defense work?

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

The R and D. What did it feel like when you got classified clearance?

Thompson:

It was a little strange. My mother kept trying to get out of me what we were working on, I wouldn't tell her. I still won't. I still haven't told anybody. I said, "No, Mom, I can't. I can't tell you."

Hellrigel:

Yes, someone made a joke and said I should ask you for your classified information, and I said, "Well, if it's classified, we don't get it."

Thompson:

I've never told anybody.

Hellrigel:

That's just the way it is.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

I've worked interviewing some people that did classified things for the government and the military in the early 1940s, and although it's no longer classified, they're not going to talk about it.

Thompson:

Yes, mine is no longer classified either, but I'm still not talking about it.

Hellrigel:

Right. Right. That's one thing I will not ask you to divulge.

Thompson:

I didn't have to worry about IEEE, no.

Hellrigel:

Right. We have proprietary information, like sometimes stamped on our PowerPoints, and there might be details about a specific conference, but no, we don’t have classified information.

Thompson:

Right. No, we don't. No.

Hellrigel:

Which is a relief.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

You know, you can have a beverage and talk to your friends about what you do at work and not worry about spilling the beans.

Thompson:

Yes. I had a room to go into that had, no one knows or anything, I had a code to get in and I remember them having a meeting there, and I'd have to go into the conference room and look under all the chairs to make sure there's no bugs.

Hellrigel:

Wow. Nowadays, you would have to take everybody’s cellphone?

Thompson:

Probably.

Hellrigel:

If they had those Google spectacles, you might have to take their eyeglasses, too?

Thompson:

Yes. I remember, it was after I left Lockheed, I forget where I was at some hotel for some kind of function, and one of the gentlemen that would come in, was there. I just looked and went--I just let him go by. I was like, I'm not saying "hello" or anything because I don't know what he was there for.

Hellrigel:

Right. Right. It sounds like you had a good career, and at thirty-one years. I've found that, usually, at IEEE, once people make their ten-year mark, they're long-haulers.

Thompson:

Long-haulers. Yes. Yes.

Hellrigel:

It's because you've committed, and it works for you, for whatever you stay at IEEE. You joined up when people were still moving out to the Operations Center in Piscataway from the office in New York City?

Thompson:

Yes. Yes, that was the new part of the building, they just had built that. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Were any of them grumpy now that they're not in New York City?

Thompson:

I don't know.

Hellrigel:

It was a transition.

Thompson:

A lot of people worked from Jersey. A lot of the New York people did not come over, so they were all new hires, like myself.

Hellrigel:

Right. Oh, okay, so that's a big hiring point for IEEE and not many made the move. It was a time of transition for IEEE.

Thompson:

Right.

Hellrigel:

That must've been nice to have a cadre that you started with, a new group, so you weren't singled out, you're the only new one.

Thompson:

Right. Right.

Hellrigel:

You were also there then, when the new wing opened, because they added wings to the building over the years.

Thompson:

Yes, the one in the back, yes. I forget they called it different buildings. We are at the warehouse.

Hellrigel:

Yes, the warehouse and Building 3.

Thompson:

Yes.

Hellrigel:

You've also seen the staff grow, too?

Thompson:

Definitely. Yes.

Hellrigel:

Well, thirty-one years, almost thirty-two years is a commendable commitment to IEEE. I'll close your oral history because I know you're busy. However, if you have either any other comments you'd like to make or information you would like to add, please feel free to do so.

Thompson:

No. I just I've enjoyed my years at IEEE, and now, I just feel like it's time to go onto the next chapter of my life.

Hellrigel:

I know a number of people who are looking forward to your cake and other events on Wednesday.

Thompson:

Yes. It's going to be a little nervous. They're going to make me do a speech. I have my husband coming in.

Hellrigel:

Good.

Thompson:

I said, "Yes, you're coming in. You're coming in." My girls are all teachers, so they, they can't come in.

Hellrigel:

Oh. Bring the fur-babies.

Thompson:

Oh, no. He's a nervous 60-pound dog. He is going to be six. He’d be a nervous wreck. It wouldn’t be pretty.

Hellrigel:

Bring him a piece of cake.

Thompson:

Yes, he would love that. He eats everything.

Hellrigel:

Pat, I want to thank you. Thank you for your time.

Thompson:

Oh, you're welcome.

Hellrigel:

And this, I'll send you the release form. Actually, you're in Monday, Tuesday--

Thompson:

And Wednesday.

Hellrigel:

--and Wednesday. So, Tuesday, I'll stop by to meet you in person.

Thompson:

Sure. I'll be there.

Hellrigel:

Okay. And then, we'll straighten this out. Thank you, ma'am.

Thompson:

That sounds like a plan. Okay. Thank you.

Hellrigel:

Thank you.

Thompson:

Thank you very much.

Hellrigel:

Take care.

Thompson:

You, too.

Hellrigel:

Bye-bye.

Thompson:

Bye.