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37 years, 13 million bills processed and Joyce Lambert retires from SEAGD

After 37 years in the billing department at Southeast Alabama Gas District and 13 million bills processed, Joyce Lambert has retired.

Lambert moved to Andalusia in 1980 from Virginia and began working as a secretary at the mental health center in Luverne.

“The department that I was in was closing,” Lambert said. “I needed another job, and I heard from a friend that there was an opening at Southeast Alabama Gas District.”

The woman that encouraged her to show up to work every day for the next 37 years was her mentor.

“Martha Elmore was my mentor,” Lambert said. “She was my supervisor and mentor. We were very very close.”

Lambert said that the best part of her job was finishing up a long project that she worked on.

“Getting finished with Dothan’s bills was always the best feeling,” Lambert said. “They had about 8,000 bills and you feel like you really accomplish something when you finish.”

The most challenging part of her job was having to stuff envelopes without the help of a machine.

“The most challenging part is when that stuffer doesn’t work,” Lambert said. “Then you have to hand stuff them and it is just horrible.”

Lambert said that the things she will miss the most about her job are her friends.

“I will really miss that camaraderie,” Lambert said. “I don’t really have that much family here. So for the past 37 years, they have been the closest that I have gotten to family.”

Through her 37 years at Southeast Alabama Gas District, she said the thing that has changed the most has been technology.

“We would use cards when I first started working,” Lambert said. “And we would have to manually put them in. Then it went from cards to invoices and they went into a new computer system in 1982, so we had to transfer everything over.”

When Lambert heard that over the past 37 years she had processed 13 million bills, she was in complete shock.

“I didn’t realize that I processed that many,” Lambert said. “I always tried to think about how many I had processed, but I would always lose count. All I know is that it was a lot of bills.”

For the person taking Lambert’s position, she said to never give up.

“This job may not look like it is exactly what you want to do,” Lambert said. “Because I didn’t like it at first. Just keep on going and keep on trying. I never knew that I would end up loving it for 37 years, but here I am.”

In her retirement, Lambert said that she will be traveling to the beach as often as she can.