For Christy Harrison, R.K. Black is a place of beginnings. It’s where she first entered the workforce and where she found her love and started a family.
On Monday, July 31, R.K. Black will witness an end in Christy's life, but yet another beginning. She will be officially retiring from R.K. Black where she has spent the last 12 years as the company’s accounts payable accountant.
R.K. Black: Where it all began — Career and Family
“This was my first real job and it will be my last,” said Christy, explaining that she was 19 when she first came on board. She worked for two years alongside the company’s bookkeeper, Roger Harrison, and, as you might guess by her name, married him.
Six months later, she left R.K. Black to pursue a career in education and began going to night school at what was then Central State College (now UCO). Upon obtaining her degree, she landed a job at the Oklahoma City Public Schools District, teaching fifth grade students in all subjects, but specializing in math.
After 16 years in education and needing a break, Christy left the chalkboard and began opening spreadsheets — working doing accounts payable first for a furniture and appliance store for five years, then for an audio installer for another few years. It was then she heard about an AP position opening at R.K. Black and considering her history with the company, decided to apply.
Needless to say, she got the job and in 2005 returned to R.K. Black handling bills, payroll, reimbursements and everything else that comes under the AP umbrella.
A Love for Numbers and Dedication
If you look at her career path, she was doing what she always loved doing — whether keeping books, teaching math to fifth-grade students or processing bills — working with numbers
“I’ve always liked numbers”, she said. “I would be a horrible receptionist or working in collections.”
But it’s not only the numbers that have kept her here at R.K. Black for these many years.
“It’s the people. This is a very dedicated bunch of people,” she said, saying the devotion is uncommon. “In my experience, (the dedication) is pretty unique.”
It is this same devotion Christy so appreciates that others at R.K. Black perceive and admire in her. Her manager, Vinse Bair, who heads up the administrative team, in the email announcing her retirement to the company, pointed out this quality among others in her.
“Christy is known for her dedication, grace and congeniality, and for the masterful way she processes the thousands (and thousands, and thousands) of bills that come in each year,” Vinse wrote. “Through her diligence, we are able to pay the right amount, maximize our prompt pay discounts, enjoy an exceptional credit rating and keep our products & services flowing smoothly!”
Keeping AP in "Mint" Condition
She’s also known for the bowl on her desk she keeps stocked full of Lifesaver mints — you know, the good ones!
Asked during the interview for this story whether our new AP will keep that bowl supplied with those breath savers, Christy laughed and said I was the second to ask about that, adding she began stocking that bowl a few years ago.
“My parting gift will be one more bag of mints,” she said. Friday morning when she walked through the front doors, hanging from one hand was a shopping bag and inside a bag of mints.
A Love for Family
So why is Christy retiring? To be with the family that started right here at R.K. Black so many years ago.
Since that beginning with Roger decades ago, they have had a son and daughter and now two grandchildren — a four-year-old and a six-month-old.
“I want to be that person to take care of them,” she said of her grandkids.
Additionally, she said she wants to spend more time together with her husband with whom she is this year celebrating 40 years of marriage.
Christy also plans on de-cluttering the homestead.
“Basically, I am looking forward to doing what I want, when I want to do it and not having a time table,” she said. “Whatever happens, happens. I’ll just be taking it one day at a time.”
R.K. Black to Christy: Farewell and Thank You!
Christy, we will miss you, your friendliness, your professionalism, your dedication … and your mints. From all of us at R.K. Black, thank you for your friendship and for making this a better place.
As Vinse in his email wrote: Christy, we pray your future endeavors bring you much happiness and joy! May God bless you and keep you in all the days ahead.
R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in and around Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.
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