Driving Success with Rita Ingram
This month's Driving Success is proud to feature Rita Ingram,
Tranztec's Technical Support Specialist - Tier 2!
The Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" is being put on notice. This month we sat down with a pure gem of our team, Rita Ingram. Rita has more charm and unique talents than any one person should rightfully possess making her our choice for one of the "Most interesting" humans you are likely to meet. A Mother, wife, an accomplished cook, award winning baker, a seamstress, a wealth of knowledge and extremely fun interview. Our Director of Customer Success, Deanna Newcomb had this to say about Rita, "Since starting at Tranztec, Rita has become an exceptional member of the team. She works tirelessly to provide our customers and partners with great customer service. She stepped up and managed Support on her own for several months without missing a beat. She is always willing to jump in and lend a hand to ensure our customers are satisfied. She strives to learn more about the business and our products daily. Her business card should say “magician” because she seems to accomplish the impossible each and every day." From her sword making husband to becoming the family cook in eighth grade, Rita took this conversation and the interviewers on a rollercoaster ride.
Tranztec: We want to get your official title for the record.
Rita Ingram: My job title? (Jokingly) Am I supposed to know that?
Rita: Oh, okay, my um, my actual title is Application Support Specialists at tier two.
Tranztec: Excellent, thank you. I suppose more important than the title tell us what Rita does for all the people who have no idea who you are.
Rita: Um, what I do is I respond to tickets and phone calls from our clients. I then will usually log into their systems and troubleshoot issues. That includes reviewing error logs and checking the database out for errors doing a lot of SQL queries out in the database. I also do upgrades and system migrations for our clients.
Tranztec: What was little Rita’s dream? Was it to be a Tier Two Application Support Specialist?
Rita: Little Rita’s dream was to be a wife and mother. But, I didn’t have the opportunity to until much later but yeah. Not having any prospects of being a wife and mother when I got started, got out of high school, I went to college. And I started taking classes that were easy and they were all in the computer science field. And then nearing the end of my college career, I got a job working as in application support in a not a direct way, but kind of I was working for a income tax software company. This was back in the days before everybody had a disk they popped into their own computer and did their own. It was professional income tax preparer software and I was their phone screener, which meant I didn't know how to actually fix anything. I just took the calls and pass them on. But I found that I loved that work. And even though I have the credentials to actually be a programmer, I love application support. I would go crazy as a programmer.
Tranztec: So what was it about application support?
Rita: Application support combines two things that I love; I enjoy the technical part of computers. I enjoy looking through and trying to find errors and that kind of thing. I also enjoy people and not many computer people are people people. When I was in college, I was asked when I was graduating what I was majoring in by a friend of mine that had just graduated. And when I told him I was majoring in computer science that his response was, but you can't be! We've seen you places besides the computer lab.
Tranztec: You're not socially awkward.
Rita: I mean, I went to a technical college, but I did every liberal arts activity on the college including being on the college radio station. So the interaction with people is really what makes technical support my forte because I get to help people solve their problems, interact with people, but I still get to fiddle around with all the technical stuff.
Tranztec: That is excellent, care to tell us a little bit about yourself and the rest of your family?
Rita: I have a total of four kids or one boy and three girls ranging in age from, he just turned 31 to 21. So the boy is the oldest and girls are scattered in there. I am physically located in a town called Belfair. Washington, which is on the west side of the Puget Sound way from Seattle.
Tranztec: Have you always lived there with your family?
Rita: Oh, heavens, no. Oh, no, I've been all over the country. I was born in Denver, Colorado. I grew up in Marietta, Georgia. I lived in upstate New York for a while then in New Jersey. Then I moved out here to Washington State and lived in a small town which is the definition of middle of nowhere. You look up Brewster Washington and you will definitely see.
Rita: I met my husband at a renaissance festival.
Tranztec: Oh, really? That's interesting!
Rita: Yeah, he was making and selling swords. I was selling chainmail jewelry.
Tranztec: How long did you make jewelry?
Rita: I didn't make it. I sold it. I actually was a renaissance fair geek and got to know and love the chainmail jewelry and the lady who ran the booth one year needed some help with the sales to sell the jewelry and I volunteered to help her. I didn't know that she was actually going to pay me and she paid me in jewelry at the end of this festival but I thought it was a way hey, I got to be on the on site every day and I didn't have to pay.
Tranztec: So 31 years married, four kids. Do you have any pets?
Rita: My dog, Emmett. And when I picked him up as a puppy, I looked at his face and it looked like he had clown makeup on. Just the grooves in his face and its coloration and it made me think of Emmett Kelly.
Tranztec: Do you have any hidden talents or something that doesn’t fit on your resume?
Rita: Lots of things that don't go on my resume, but I'm an amateur gourmet cook and I design and make my own clothing as well as volunteer to help my local high school when they're doing their plays. I help do their costuming. And I do volunteer work at a local soup kitchen one Monday a month to cook meals for the homeless.
Tranztec: Can you tell us a little bit more about the soup kitchen?
Rita: Mary's Place is the name of the organization and they prepare meals for the homeless every Monday. And of course, everybody who comes in is welcome and served. I've worked there, well volunteered there for, three or four years and I am usually either the head chef or the what they call the sous chef and that helps out and we serve about between 100 and 150 people every Monday when we cook. It's part of a somewhat community effort in that different organizations to do meals on different days of the week. So no one organization is burdened with supplying the needs every day of the week.
Tranztec: Now, how did you get involved in that?
Rita: Well, I got involved with that because I attended the church that's associated with, which is Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bremerton and they issued an appeal for volunteers and I love cooking so it was a natural fit for me.
Tranztec: So are your cooking skills self taught or did you go to some class or school for any of that
Rita: My cooking is self taught for the most part. Um, I was the youngest of seven children. And when I was in eighth grade, I was the first one home in the evenings so I wound up cooking dinner for the family every night and my mother always was starting to panic when she came into the room and the cookbook was out because that meant she had no idea what was going to come out of the kitchen. So you know I developed my ability from my mother. I cooked with my mother for years and years and years. So I've always been around food. When I was in college I worked for two and a half years as an assistant chef at a three star restaurant. So I did get some education there but I had no formal training, per se just what I picked up on the job.
Tranztec: Very cool. So are you a recipe person or do you kind of now just have a feel for everything you want to make?
Rita: Well depends on what I'm making. Baking and dessert type things. Those have to have a recipe. It at least for the first couple of times I'm making them then I can start tweaking them. Because baking is more chemistry at its base than anything else. As far as our main dishes if I'm making a dish, a specific kind of a dish that somebody's asking me for. For the first time I will find a recipe but usually after that I'm winging it because I've you know, like I said, I've been cooking for so long. That unless I have, you know, like I said unless I'm trying to produce something that was specifically or somebody specifically asked about that they do that then I use the recipe otherwise I just start throwing things together.
Tranztec: I was thinking we could include, you know, a real Rita recipe if you got something good.
Rita: Actually, I've got something good that I'll bet almost nobody will have ever heard of although you guys are from Ohio, so you might. My Christmas cookies are quite spectacular. One of them is a cookie called "Vanilla Strips" which my family is the only family I've ever seen that makes these and I've never heard anybody else ever know about them until they try them. It's an almond and egg white based cookie and there's no flour in it. So it's good for people who can't do flour, so I will share that recipe.
(Narrator note: Please see the bottom of the page for recipe)
I've had the recipe for so long, I got it from my mother and she got it from her grandmother
Tranztec: So do you like reading anything other than cookbooks?
Rita: Well, I am a big time book listener. I listen to audiobooks a lot.
Tranztec: Oh nice, what's in your book club recommendation for us?
Rita: Oh, just about everything. I tend to listen to mystery, crime, and detective novels. But I also like to listen to a lot of very classical audiobooks such as Jules Verne and HG Wells and just older stuff, because that's all that's available free from an application called LibriVox. And then I listened to more modern stuff via audible, so I've listened to a lot of stuff.
Tranztec: So it sounds like you stay pretty busy with your volunteering and cooking and clothes making..
Rita: And kids
Tranztec: And kids. So what is your go to, to relax after work, what do you do?
Rita: um, I do a lot of cooking. Yeah, um, I don't do as much sewing as I used to. I used to when I was younger, go to the Renaissance festivals. And I would design and make my own clothes for that but I don't do that as much as I used to. So I would say that you know, and I'm reading when I'm doing other things if I'm cooking or sewing or gardening or any of that other things I'm always listening to a book.
Oh, one other hobby I'm going to mention is that before, when I had my own sheep and goats I used to make homemade fresh cheeses.
Tranztec: You are a non-stop list of talents. Is there anything you find to be difficult part of what you're doing right now, in your estimation?
Rita: The most difficult part is getting being able to understand what it is the client is trying to explain. Sometimes, you know when they're talking about what the activity they want something to do, and not saying that well, but interpreting the information that they give you and making it so that you can truly understand. And then taking what the client has and what I found in the client's environment and help the developers understand exactly what it is they're truly wanting.
Tranztec: You have been at Tranztec for nearly a year, do you have a favorite memory or is it still too soon?
Rita: My favorite memory is almost clearing the one table at our Texas Hold'em poker night.
Tranztec: Writing that down: Rita’s favorite memory is taking everyone’s money.
Rita: I might have done better if I understood the rules of the game better.
Tranztec: Other than Russ Ladd the eventual winner that night, I think everyone else would disagree. So do you have any bucket list items?
Rita: I would like I would like to go to Poland depending on where you draw the line after which war I'm either 50% German 50% polish 100% polish or 100% German.
The one thing I want to say is I do I own a rocking chair that came over with my great great grandmother from Poland. Yeah, and I have actually recaned to the bottom of it. It had a cane seat and that rotted away. So as a project one Christmas season I recaned to the bottom of it.
Tranztec: I'm starting to be left thinking is there anything that Rita doesn't do?
Rita: To growing up with six brothers and sisters because I'm the seventh. There was never a lot of money. So entertainments that we wanted to do had to be things we could do, which were inexpensive. Lots of arts and crafts are fairly inexpensive. If you're not you know trying to make jewelry with diamonds. So that's part of where I learned that my also my extended family is very talented and crafty people in my immediate family. I don't know of any handicraft made known demand that somebody doesn't do except for lacemaking and if we go out to my aunts and uncles I have an aunt that does lacemaking I've done candlemaking I've done leather work, I can fix my own car. Because my father when I was younger, when I was being raised up my father was seeing that you know no longer were men going from high school and getting married and moving in, you know, the wives hadn't take care of and women were being on their own for more. So he made sure that all of his girls knew how to do basic car work. And all of the boys knew how to cook and sew enough to put a button on you know themselves and I know enough car mechanics to do simple things like oil changes, changing out a part, do a tune up that kind of thing. And I also know enough to avoid getting ripped off at repair shops.
Tranztec: Good on him and good on you for learning that. That's a trait
Rita: I still remember the first time when my generator the generator on my station wagon that I was driving back in college died and I got one of the other cars and went up and bought the part and swapped it out and everything before he even got home from work. So I was I was proud of me for that. Now I have a husband to do that.
Tranztec: I'd say most people nowadays don't even know how to do basic things.
Rita: Yeah, like I said my dad was definitely ahead of his time in especially teaching the guys to cook and sew.
Tranztec: I'm not even sure Zach knows what a wrench is.
Zach: Yeah, I am feeling very inadequate.
Rita: Every year, around the Fourth of July I select a home improvement project and usually I do it myself. I started this when my girls were very young. So they can see that just because I didn't know you know how to do something before. Before I decided to do a project. I was able to teach myself how to do it and accomplish it.
Tranztec: Do you learn off of YouTube or do you like picking up a book or how do you go about it?
Rita: Yeah, off YouTube for the most part, or reading things on the internet. These projects have included laying in a ceramic tile entryway building of front porch, deck reflooring, kitchen fixing drawers in my kitchen. Just basically anything that needed something that needed fixing, I would do it and so it was it was partially intended so the girls could see that you don't have to depend on somebody else. And that goes for everything except electrical. I don't mess with electrical.
Tranztec: I don't want to take up too much more of your time. This has been extremely enjoyable. But is there anything you would like to say or add that we haven't gotten to talk about?
Rita: Um, well, I will want to tell you about one thing that when I was at my first job, the technical support, as I mentioned, I was a phone screener and basically I was there just to take down on the computer what the customer's problems was and pass it off to our development team. And I noticed that I kept seeing very similar problems cross my desk and I went to my manager and said, hey, you know, these problems, you know, this arrow 54 or whatever it was, I've seen this like three times today is this something I could tell the client how to resolve this and free up the developers for dealing with other problems. Then because of that, they created a program that called tax tip, which was put out every day which had a list of it known issues and known solutions that we could give out so I could help cut down the waiting time for our clients. And so I was very, very, very pleased the first time a customer called in and asked for me.
I'm really really happy to be working at Tranztec. I'm enjoying my time here. I enjoy the people. And you know maybe I'm looking forward to winning some money in October instead of being an almost.
Tranztec has made a donation to Mary's Place in Rita's name.
Rita's Vanilla Strips
5-6 cups of Almonds 8 egg whites
2 lbs. powdered Sugar ½ Tsp Salt
1 Table spoons Vanilla Extract Powder sugar for dusting wax paper and pans
1. Beat egg whites until stiff.
2. Add 2 lbs. powdered sugar and salt, Mix.
3. Divide Mixture in half.
4. Add vanilla to on half of the dough (this is for the icing)
5. Add ground nuts to the other half of the dough until it forms a ball.
6. Roll out on wax paper dusted with powered Sugar.
7. Cut into Diamonds or Rectangular Shapes.
8. Put on a cookie Sheet dusted with powdered sugar and spread the shapes with the icing mixture.
9. Bake at 300 Degrees until light brown. About 15 -20 Minuets.
10. Cool then remove. Store in airtight container.
Note: Don’t Spare the powdered sugar when dusting as it will make removing and working with the cookies easier.
You can use Pecans instead of almonds if you prefer.