Heather Morrison, Training and Education Manager, 911 Emergency Communications
What three words would you use to describe the City of Springfield?
Hardworking. Friendly. Teamwork.
What advice do you have for prospective employees?
What I usually try to tell all prospective employees is that working at 911 is not like any other job they have worked before. The hours and training are tough – but if you come in to working here with an open mind and a willingness to learn many new things it can also become the most rewarding job you will ever do in your entire life.
Walk us through your career development path.
I was hired on with the city in March of 2004 as a 911 telecommunicator, I then worked my way towards becoming a certified training officer, shift supervisor and in September of 2016 I was promoted to Quality Assurance Manager (a brand-new position within the department).
What's something you've learned since working for the City?
I have learned that it, “takes a village.” Working a 911 in particular, you understand that every department has an integral role to play in making the city function and flow properly. Working as a team is what we do best!
What's the hardest part of your job?
I truly love my job – right now the hardest part for me is getting up early in the morning. I went from 13 years of night shift, to now waking up in the morning to an alarm clock at 6am – the struggle is real!
What's the best part of your job?
The best part of my current job is assisting in the molding and shaping of the all the telecommunicators. We have really taken this quality assurance program and turned it into something positive; employees are using the information provided to them and truly working to make themselves more well-rounded and seeing the program entirely as job improvement for themselves as a whole.
What's the coolest thing you've done in your career?
Several years ago I was chosen to participate in Disaster Camp at the Emergency Management Institute in Maryland. Myself, two other fellow co-workers and multiple other City Of Springfield employees got to simulate what it would be like if we had a EF5 tornado hit our city. The training was very informative, lots of fun and we came back with tons of information on how to prepare ourselves if anything like that were to ever happen.
What are you passionate about?
Dogs! I volunteer for a local animal rescue group (Rescue One) – it has been very rewarding to assist in helping homeless and abandoned dogs find loving FURever homes.
Do you work to live, or do you live to work? Why?
I am very career motivated, from day one of my employment here I knew I wanted to work towards becoming a part of upper management, I knew bettering myself career-wise would also assist with making my personal life more comfortable and fulfilled. However, with that being said – my time away work is very much valued. My friends, my family, my passion for animals, exercise and “chill time” is very much a big part of my life – I need a good balance of both in order to be truly satisfied.
What do you admire about this organization?
I recently got to attend a CAmP Springfield class – one of the main things that I took away from that experience is the true pride that so employees have in terms of their job. Not only was everyone very knowledgeable in what they do, but they also showed a true pride when explaining and showing their jobs to us. Being proud of the work you do is so important and in turn motivates you to want to do a better job – I witnessed that a lot across the board while attending CAMP.
Who do you admire in this organization?
I admire, Kris Inman, the Training and Education Manager with our department. Throughout the many years that I have known him he as continually maintained a positive demeanor and outlook with everyone he comes into contact with. He makes himself approachable in a job where due to the high stress, employees need to feel like they have a person to go to vent, talk and work things through. Watching him interact with employees even to this day gives me ideas on what kind of manager I want to grow to become within this department.
What's something that Springfield as a city should strive for?
Strive for attracting the younger demographic to want to work for the City of Springfield. Get programs started at all the local and surrounding colleges and universities to entice students to want to come work for the city upon graduation