Carrington Research Extension Center
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First stop: Front Office

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Hello from the Front Office at the Carrington REC. Our research and Extension staff volunteer to write blogs for this space, but it’s time to expand our authors to include technical and support staff. Who would you like to hear from next?

When you walk through the front doors of the Carrington REC, you’ll be greeted by at least one of our front office staff. Myrna Friedt and Linda Schuster work full time and Lynne Voglewede supports us at least two days each week.

Collectively, we accomplish many things! Along with the obvious: greeting visitors and answering phones, we handle basic office tasks like shipping and receiving packages, making copies, filing, mailing, and maintaining the office. But we also juggle many other tasks. We process and pay local invoices, and that involves a careful process with checks and balances (and training!). Myrna is integrally involved in grant applications and administration, and processes payroll and files all the forms required for hiring new staff. We monitor many safety functions, like inspecting fire extinguishers and first aid kits, and help with maintaining vehicle records. We assist with online purchases, from inexpensive specialty fasteners to large technical equipment. Need to register for a class or workshop? Contact us! We arrange tours, book conference spaces and work with groups to make certain our (and their) technology works as expected. Sometimes we help with shipping pallets of seed. When someone needs to pull weeds from the edges of the parking lots, that’s us!

Sometimes, even answering guest questions are more exciting that you might imagine. The Carrington REC is the often first response for many online searches, and we are pleased to help when we are a first call for help. Our local staff are well-versed on their research in agronomy and livestock topics, but sometimes the question is very specific and we are able to suggest campus-based experts, or one of our colleagues at another REC. That means we need to quickly access staff lists and recognize who would be best to answer each question. We need to know when to refer calls to county-based Extension agents, too. Our staff often provide talking points for emergent topics to help us route our constituents in the right direction.

We assist our research staff by entering data for them, and sometimes are called into hands-on service in the field or on the road. When everyone else is working in the plots, we make parts runs or help with moving people and equipment.

About once a month, we meet online with our support staff colleagues from the other NDSU RECs (Central Grasslands REC at Streeter, Dickinson REC, Hettinger REC, Langdon REC, North Central REC in Minot, and Williston REC). Not surprisingly, we have many tasks in common, but we also find that each REC has unique functions and we learn much from each other.

Give us a call at 701-652-2951 or stop by to say hello! We’re happy to help.

Linda Schuster
Administrative Assistant