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Veteran servant takes over at city HR department

ELIZABETH HEFFNER

Staff Writer

Lincolnton’s new Director of Human Resources is a well-versed public servant of the city. Tanya Osborne began her position as Human Resources Director on Dec. 31 of this past year. Having worked at City Hall for the past 13 years, Osborne is no newcomer to the realm of politics. Although she has worked with many city employees, many do not realize the travels Osborne experienced before settling down near the Appalachian foothills.

A Texas native, Osborne spent most of her childhood traveling.

“My dad was in the Air Force, so we were moving every three years,” Osborne said. “I’ve actually lived in England, Germany and California.”

The family relocated when she was in middle school back to San Angelo, Texas when her father retired.

Within a matter of years, Osborne found her future husband, Randy, in a career field she was all too familiar with.

“I met my husband there at the Air Force base,” Osborne said.

Shortly after they were married, the couple moved to England for her husband’s tour with the Air Force. In 1986, the couple moved to Raleigh, where her husband took a computer job with AT&T. There, they began to raise a family, beginning with their two twin girls. Osborne quickly fell in love with the natural beauty of North Carolina.

“I love the weather and the trees,” Osborne said. “It’s so green, and we usually have all four seasons. How could you not like North Carolina? You’ve got the mountains and the ocean.”

Osborne recalls many weekends spent making the trek from Raleigh to Lincolnton. Her husband was a native of Lincolnton, so the family often traveled to visit his relatives. Eventually, the family made the decision to move to Lincolnton in 1996.

“We were spending so much time on the road driving back and forth between Raleigh and Lincolnton to come visit my husband’s parents,” Osborne said. “That was around the time that AT&T did their downsizing, so he was actually laid off. At the time, I was working as a credit manager. So, I resigned from my position, and we moved here.”

After the move, Osborne opted to become a stay-at-home mom, caring for her children until they were eligible for kindergarten.

“Then the opportunity to work for the city came along, so I came to work for the city in 1999,” Osborne said.

Osborne began her career with the city in the receptionist and administrative support position.

“I had decided that when I was going to go back to work, I would either look at banking or government,” she said. “I had been out of the work force a while, staying home with the girls, and I knew being in a small town, it would be very difficult to get into a position at the level I had been at before.”

City Manager Jeff Emory was one of the first city officials Osborne had the opportunity to meet.

“I remember Mr. Emory was one of the people who interviewed me at that time,” Osborne said. “And I remember during that interview, he asked the question ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ So, I said, ‘I see myself still working for the city, just not as the receptionist.’ That might have been a little presumptuous.”

However, after two years in the receptionist and administrative support position, Osborne took a position as a personnel technician in the city’s Human Resources Department, a role she has filled over the past 13 years.

“Because we’re small, you really need to know all of the facets of HR,” Osborne said. “We’re not like a Charlotte where you have a person that specializes in recruitment or benefits. We get to do it all. I work hard to make the employees feel comfortable, to be able to come over to Human Resources and talk to us if they have issues. And in the Benefits role, there’s always some problems going on when you start dealing with medical providers and claims processing. And then you’re also talking to employees when they might have major things in their lives that they’re dealing with in reference to health.”

“I am convinced she was the best person for the position,” Emory said. “Tanya is an incredibly hard worker with great people skills. The employees trust her. From working with her all these years, I know she’ll do a great job.”

Osborne believes her customer service and interpersonal skills have allowed her to advance in her career.

“I think it’s a good thing that they call me and feel like they can call me and know they’ll get an answer,” she said “I know that comes down to customer service, which seems to be less and less out there in the world, but I believe that if you let them know you care—if you communicate with them and try to do the best you can to resolve what issue they have, they will realize that even if it doesn’t come out the way they want it to, you’ve tried to do your best to get it resolved.”

Ultimately, Osborne says she is thankful for this opportunity with the city.

“I know my gift is that I have a servant’s heart,” she said. “I think that’s why it works so well — that I’m able to help my fellow employees.”

 

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