Diana Nix Marks 40th Year at Kearney!
Saturday Night Fever won album of the year, The Dukes of Hazzard roared onto our television screens, and a very young Diana Nickel answered a newspaper ad for a job at Kearney. Hired as a Secretary One with Shorthand, Diana would see plenty of changes over the next 40 years, but one constant would be working at Kearney. When asked how it was to start at Kearney, Diana replied, “I made the choice to take this new job, but honestly, I am not good with change. It was tough.”
As an increasingly important center of research, Kearney continued to develop assets and so did Diana. She was reclassified to Word Processing Specialist and then Administrative Assistant. Following the trail of technological advances, Diana said the office personnel took some classes to learn the new word processing and computer skills, but much of her skill set came from just figuring things out herself. Knowing there was a need to be met, that her assistance mattered and made a difference motivated her to keep growing.
New skills at Kearney were only exceeded by new skills at home as Diana married, raised children, and then learned to cope as a young widow. Through it all she says, Kearney has been a constant, like a family. In fact, Diana credits the people at Kearney as the reason she has stayed 40 years.
Also a key factor in Diana's longevity at Kearney is her drive to help. “I don't want anyone to leave here without getting something.” This usually means being an excellent resource of information about research, planning, catering, etc., but sometimes it is different. One time a woman came into the reception area and asked Diana to throw out a handful of garbage for her. No problem. Thunk-goosh, into the can. A short time later, Diana heard back from the woman, “I think my teeth were in that. Could you please check?” Sure enough. Diana, very helpfully, gave them back.
There are chapters left to write about Diana's past 40 years, and many more to write about her continuing future here. For now, we will close with these words from Kearney's director at a celebration held for Diana on March 20th, as Jeff Dahlberg thanked Diana Nix for her “…extraordinary service to the UC-ANR KARE community. It is not often that we have the opportunity to thank someone for 40 years of service to our organization, and it was a pleasure to present a Certificate of Appreciation and a pin to Diana in recognition of her years of service.”