Occupation: Executive Secretary
Barbara Stinnett has been with the City of Alcoa for almost 24 years. She started out as a secretary in the finance department for 12 years and then became executive secretary to the city manager. “When I first came we didn’t have PCs. We had to work off a mainframe, and it has always been a heavy workload,” she says.
Stinnett says the city’s population hasn’t increased much but the “daytime” population has as people pass through the city -- going and coming back from Knoxville. “I think our daytime population is estimated at 50,000-plus and 8,400 is our census population,” she says.
In 2000, the Alcoa city government moved from their offices in the building at the corner of Hall Road and Bessemer Street into their new accommodations in the Springbrook Corporate Center.
“That old building just couldn’t accommodate all the computer changes. Also, when we were in that old building, we had Planning and Codes, Utilities, Finance, City Management and very little room,” she says. “We had a small library/conference room. We didn’t even have a formal commission chamber. Now we have a formal commission chamber for our meetings. The public is much more comfortable there, and we conduct business much better.”
Stinnett said the quality of life in Alcoa has improved with all the new amenities that have come to town in the last 24 years. “The Alcoa Wal-Mart came in, and there are all the shopping options at Hamilton Crossing now. Hall road has changed. The school facilities continue to be improved with a new middle school built and the Alcoa City Center, which opened where the former Charles Hall School and Alcoa Middle School once stood.
When Stinnett is not at work, she can be found tooling around town in her VW convertible.
“It’s my second convertible. When Ed was in the Air Force, we lived in England for a couple of years, and we bought an MG while we were over there,” she said. “It was a 1970 MG. We brought it back to the states with us and drove it for as long as we could.”
Stinnett said when the opportunity came to buy the VW convertible, she thought it would be a fun thing to get, although she wishes it was a 5-speed instead of an automatic transmission. “I’m a hot rod woman at heart,” she said.
Here is Barbara Stinnett:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“I’m definitely more like my mother. She was barely 5 feet tall and a fireball. Patience was not her thing. She expected you to always get your work done before you could play. My dad was pretty laid back. But I have mellowed out.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“Forest Gump - ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.’”
What are you guilty of?
“I’m guilty of going off on tangents. I have to reel myself back in, calm down, focus and get the job done.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“I guess my favorite material possession right now is my little red VW Beetle convertible. My daughter will sometimes let me put the grandchildren in it with the top down. I just wish it was a 5-speed.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“I’m not going to tell my very most embarrassing moment but I recently did a ‘wipeout slide’ in Jazzercise class. I hit so hard I was dazed, and the instructor came down off the stage to see if I was OK. I was sore for a week. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to the hospital.”
If you only had a week to live, what would you do and why?
“I would try to put my affairs in order and make sure the people I care about know that I love them. I would also tell them that life is short, and love is rare.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Dedicated. I’m pretty demanding and would like for people to just do the right thing.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Although there are many things about myself I would change, I would really like to get rid of the clutter.”
What is your passion?
“I’m passionate about my family, church, the City of Alcoa, dancing, the International Association of Administrative Professionals, camping, reading, etc., etc., etc. There are not enough hours in the day.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“I’d have to have a lot of long lunches. I couldn’t narrow it down to one person. My deceased husband and mother would be at the top of the list.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“I would like either Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett to play me. I wish I was as funny as those two ladies were/are. My generation has had such good comedians to enjoy.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I would have liked to have lived when the West was being settled. I like the bustled dresses the women wore back then. I can’t imagine how they got so much work done dressed like that. I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to start out in a covered wagon not knowing what was ahead. They were such courageous people.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“A diamond pendant my husband gave me in 1966. I wear it every day.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“My mother always told me that if you can’t say something nice just don’t say anything. That’s great advice, and I wish I practiced it all the time.”
In the workplace, would you rather be powerful or popular?
“I would prefer to be respected in the workplace rather than powerful or popular.”
Who is your hero?
“I admire Pat Summitt, Jim Valvano, and the cartoon character Maxine.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“I don’t Myspace, Facebook or Twitter yet, but I’m thinking about it. That’s the first step.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I’m definitely a dog person but I’ve met some cats that I like. Mr. Felix lives a couple of doors down from me, and he comes for a visit every so often. He’s pretty cool.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“The worst job I ever had was working as a waitress in high school for 30-cents an hour.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
“The best song that describes me is Donna Summer’s ‘She Works Hard for Her Money.’”