Mary Grimes, an office services specialist in Fleet Operations, estimates she orders supplies from Blazer Bookstore for her office two, maybe three times a year.
Whenever she makes that phone call to place the order, Margaret Bish almost always is on the other end of the line, ready and eager to help.
“It seems she remembers me by name and knows what I need,” Grimes says. “It always surprises me that Margaret can make a phone call seem like a face-to-face discussion with a personal acquaintance.”
That’s the kind of customer service that does not happen by accident. Bish knows and cares about her customers, the products she sells and her job, always taking the extra steps to ensure her customers are satisfied.
It’s that kind of dedication and commitment that has earned Bish the distinction as August’s Employee of the Month.
Bish says the adage “treat others the way you would want to be treated” applies to her daily job.
“It’s the Golden Rule,” she says. “I think the world would be a better place if we treated each other that way more often.”
Bish is working on 30 years as an employee at UAB, spending almost that entire span working in the bookstore. In fact, if you want a history of the campus, Bish probably can help.
“At least part of the campus,” she says with a laugh. “I wouldn’t try to tackle the whole thing.”
When Bish first started her career at UAB she worked in the Blazer Bookstore when it was in the 15th Street Classroom Building (recently demolished). Later she worked in the warehouse building next to radio station WBHM-FM (where the UAB Police Department mounted patrol now is housed) before heading back to 15th Street. Then it was on to the Blazer Bookstore’s current location in the Hill University Center in 1983.
“I’ve been here through many changes,” the Birmingham native says. “I’ve been in three buildings and seen many things – and people – come and go. But I like to be active. I like to be with people. I like variety, and there’s always change on campus.”
That may be true, but Bish’s contributions to a better work environment have remained one constant throughout those 30 years, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed. She makes an impression on those she works with as well as those she serves.
Linda Phillips, an administrative director in Vision Sciences, worked for seven months in the Blazer Bookstore when she first began her career at UAB. She remembers Bish as a friendly, supportive co-worker. “She was someone who went out of her way to help me learn more about the bookstore,” Phillips says.
Now, Phillips is calling on Bish to help again, this time as she orders supplies for her office. “I have always found her service efficient and her attitude cheerful,” Phillips says.
Bish’s caring and warm personality extend far beyond the walls of Blazer Bookstore.
She has received praise from members of the Benevolent Fund Committee and the Toys for Tots Committee for her volunteer work through the years.
“Margaret genuinely loves people and it shows in her attitude towards them,” says Steve Pierce, manager of Blazer Bookstore. “I wish to thank Margaret for her tireless efforts to help her fellow man and to brighten their days as she goes about doing it.”