2016 has already been a year with many long time CRESA staff members beginning the next chapters in their lives as they retire. This week we say good-bye to another as Director Anna Pendergrass joins the ranks of retired.
Anna joined CRESA in 2004 when she was recruited as the Operations Manager. In that position she oversaw the day-to-day functions of the emergency dispatch center, where 9-1-1 calls are received and where operators send police, fire, and medical experts in response. She also oversaw employee training and continuing education programs, as well as performance quality assurance and accreditation for the agency and dispatchers.
Anna took over as CRESA director in June of 2011 being selected for her experience, intelligence, historical knowledge, her rapport with employees, partners and responding agencies.
Anna’s legacy here at CRESA will be long lasting. Under her direction, CRESA moved from a controlled approach, where “safe” actions were often taken to avoid negative repercussions, towards an innovative and “Lean” approach, where ideas advancing CRESA and the industry in new directions are encouraged. Managers and staff are empowered to develop and try new ideas. Anna has a unique strength in reducing difficult-to-understand ideas, mechanisms, program or processes to their basic parts, embracing the concept of “less is more” to “keep it simple.”
As CRESA prepares for Anna start the chapter of her life, we asked her a few questions reflecting back on her career in Public Safety.
Anna met her husband (Alan) on the job. They have been and married for 37 years! Anna also shared she has enjoyed being able to watch and help people grow and be successful.
Hardest moment on the job:
Watching and supporting staff when an officer/responder gets shot or injured. Anna had only been at CRESA a couple weeks when Brad Crawford got killed. Seeing the impacts on employees was the toughest.
Another tough moment was while at the first agency where she started her career, a dispatcher committed suicide.
Biggest change during your tenure:
Anna mentioned there have been many changes but she remembers when she started dispatching in 1976, there were no computers, dispatchers wrote everything on radio logs and complaint cards. They then typed up daily activity (event) logs. Today dispitchers sit in front of 5 monitors helping them organize each and every call in real-time.
The other big difference… There was NO 9-1-1 nationwide at this time. Individuals had to call the response agency’s 7-digit number, (yes 7 digits, people didn’t have to dial the area code at that time). There has been a huge change in how people call with now a majority of calls coming into the center via cell phone.
What you will miss most:
The people……. They are amazing, supportive of each other and really do care about their community, the citizens and officers/responders they work with.
Plans for your next chapter:
Anna has some amazing plans for the next chapter of her life including taking time to smell the flowers. Anna is an avid gardener and [plans to spend plenty of time “parking” my yard out.
Anna also enjoys the outdoors and plans on spending time cycling, hiking, sailing, and traveling. Two incredible trips include climbing Kilimanjaro and a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti.
I need another lifetime. Enjoy life to its fullest, be happy, don’t take things too seriously. Life is to short and keeps marching on!
Anna has a great perspective on life as she shared this wonderful tidbit on life. “Enjoy life too its fullest, be happy, don’t take things too seriously. Life is too short and keeps marching on!”
Well from all of us here at CRESA Anna, we wish you the very best as you enjoy a well deserved break. You will be missed, and we will keep “marching on!” Thanks for your time at the helm!!