On an otherwise ordinary Wednesday morning, a woman walks into the Maryland Department of the Environment’s front lobby office with tears streaming down her face.
She had just received a penalty notice from the Lead Rental Registry Section at MDE for an unregistered property. Frightened that she could possibly lose her property, the lady tells receptionists Dorothy “Dottie” Stokes-Wallace and Jarry Marshall of her plight of receiving the letter and not knowing what to do next.
That’s exactly the kind of situation, as many at MDE know, where Dottie and Jarry shine, being the calming and kind individuals that they are. They represent the agency in a professional, friendly manner in its most important location for customer service, at the front desk.
They explained what the letter means and told her that all she needs to do is pay a fee owed to MDE and everything will be all right and she will be in no danger of losing the property. After a few more sobs, the lady paid the fee and wished them a good day, smiling as she walked back toward the Montgomery Park parking lot.
Mark it up to another job well done.
Dottie has worked for MDE for 5½ years and Jarry has been with the agency for four years. They are anything but your normal receptionists, who tend to limit their duties to handling phone calls and directing walk-in visitors. Dottie and Jarry are problem solvers who greatly enhance the efficiency of the agency.They also perform countless other duties throughout the year.
In the past four years, they have collectively greeted and directed more than 15,335 visitors, accepted and logged in/out 4,772 pieces of mail, issued and tracked 620 temporary proximity cards, and answered 74,582 telephone calls and inquiries. They have accepted and processed financial transactions in the amount of $1,521,110.68, primarily from the regulated community.
They also perform a number of behind-the-scenes activities. For example, Jarry keeps copies of photos in his work area of persons who might represent a threat to the agency as a quick point of reference.
“The action down here never stops,” Dottie says.
Dottie and Jarry both have the requisite dedication, skill and background to execute each of these daily tasks. Dottie has had 50 years of experience working with the public, retiring from The Better Business Bureau and working in the retail and banking industry. Jarry has done various levels of customer service and is currently working on his cyber security and psychology degree from the University of Phoenix.
To prepare for the challenges presented by the following day, Jarry looks over emails the evening before and makes note of things to be aware of for the next day. Dottie comes in 45 minutes early to unlock the doors and get ready for the morning rush.
Although the job certainly has its challenges, Dottie and Jarry enjoy overcoming each obstacle. “Every day is not exactly the same,” Jarry said.
“We are the first impression of the agency so the biggest thing for us is interacting with others; visitors as well as employees. The best part is being able to help people,” he added.
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230