Friday, October 26, 2012

Cindy Lahmann's impact on KCKCC to be visible for years


With 43 years of working for others, Cindy Lahmann has decided it’s time to make some time for herself.

“I’m going to enjoy my home, my family and my friends,” says Lahmann. Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Outstanding Staff Employee in 2011, Lahmann will end a career of nearly 23 years at the college on Friday, Nov. 9.

The Web Designer for Information Systems the last five years, Lahmann’s impact on the College will be visible for years to come. In her role as Production HTML Specialist from 1998-2004, Lahmann teamed with Webmaster Charles Cowdrick to build the College’s website.

“I could not have created the website without Cindy,” said Cowdrick, “She’s amazing. She basically learned the web page language on her own. She was willing to learn and she got it. A perfectionist, she would work at all hours to get things done if she knew they needed to be done. It was not unusual for her to do things before and after work at home and to put things up on the web at night or early in the morning even when the college was not in session.”

“It was the best time I’ve ever had,” says Lahmann. “Charles took me under his wing. He would delegate what he wanted and we learned together. It took a lot of hours but they were good times, they really were and I loved every minute. I like to see outcomes, to see how things tie together and how they look – like the end result or a photo finish.”

When Cowdrick retired, Lahmann took on a new position as administrative assistant to the Dean of Human Resources and Affirmative Action only to be summed back to Information Systems as Web Designer.

“Bill Chennault (Dean of Information Systems) called and said I need you, that he knew where he needed me and that I would be good at it and I’ve been here ever since and love it,” says Lahmann.

“Cindy helped set the standards for the website not to mention entering hundreds upon hundreds of syllabi and countless other information,” said Chennault. “Between Cindy and Charles, they created the first website presentable to the outside world and when Charles left, she took over a lot of the Webmaster duties along with her own work. She was also always my first and last resort. She always had better ideas than I did and I knew if there was any problem, Cindy could solve it.

“She’s one of those rare people who could tackle a mountain of work and just eliminate it. There were times when I’d see things piled on her desk over a foot high and the next morning it would be gone. But the thing that really stood out is that she always did it with a smile and enthusiastically, not only on the website but any project that required dedication and hard work.”

Born and raised in KCK, Lahmann got her first job babysitting at age 12.

“I lived near 78th Street and there were several army families for whom I worked,” she says. At age 14, she started a three-year job at the Dairy Queen on 78th. “Talk about a fun job. Fun people to work with and we got to meet a lot of people – and eat.”

An honor student at F.L. Schlagle High School, she worked seven years as an accountant for Farmland Industries before a life-changing move to the Quincy Research Center, a pharmaceutical test center in Kansas City, Mo.

“That’s where I met my husband,  Jim,” she remembers. “It was love at first sight, it really was. And it was the same with Jim. He said the instant he saw me he knew I was the one. We dated for about a year and I played hard to get when he asked me to marry him, He asked once and I said no and the second time I asked him. I don’t know why I said no. I guess he caught me off guard and I’m not one to jump into things.”

Their marriage May 12, 1984, however, ended Cindy’s job at Quincy.

“Married couples could not work for the same company and he had the better job,” said Cindy. During the next four years, she became a stay at home mother when Michele was born in 1986.

On Nov. 1, 1988, she came to work at KCKCC, working two years as a secretary in Math and Science and four years in Humanities and Fine Arts.

“That was when we worked 30 hours a week and had our summers off,” remembers Lahmann. “When they took our summers away, I left and worked in the Piper School District office for nearly a year.”

She returned to KCKCC in the fall as a Class I secretary to the Vice-President of Academic Services before finding her real love in academic computing. Most recently, Lahmann has teamed with new Webmaster Lisa Cline in implementing KCKCC’s Content Management System and Share Point Portal, MyDotte.

That’s in addition to the monstrous upkeep of the website which includes inputting the college catalog, programs, personnel directories, board and division minutes, news releases and other necessary updating.

Taking early retirement at age 55 will open a bevy of opportunities. “Jim retired in the fall of 2010 so we’ll have more time together; I’ll get to have lunch with Michele more often; and I’ll be able to spend a lot more time with my mother (Evelyn Griffin), who lives about 2½ hours away in Princeton, Mo.

“Also, I love working in my yard and enjoy my home period. I’m not one who has to be on the run. I may eventually work a little part-time but not for at least a year. Right now I’m going to take things one day at a time. I might even finish my degree. I have 42 credits, mostly in courses related to web development. Working at the College has been great.  I have no regrets.”

Her fondest memory came in May of 2011 when she received the Outstanding Staff Employee of the Year at the annual Recognition Dinner.

“Having my mother there meant the world to me – and to her,” says Lahmann. “I think she was overwhelmed. It represented the values in which my mom and dad raised me, to give 110 percent. I was very shocked. Not too many people touch my heart but I was humbled and honored.”


PHOTO: Early retirement from KCKCC will give Cindy Lahmann (left) more time to spend with her daughter, Michele; her husband, Jim; and her mother, Evelyn Griffin, who lives in Princeton, Mo. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)