Working in the city hall of a small town was a big adjustment for Annette Plikerd, but it ended up as one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.
Mrs. Plikerd retired last week after serving more than 18 years as secretary to the city administrator for the City of Rossford.
She leaves her post with the most seniority of her colleagues, having worked with five finance directors, three mayors and three city administrators.
"I learned not only how a city runs, and how much paperwork is involved, but how in a small town, people have a say," she explained.
Mrs. Plikerd previously had worked at O-I as a secretary and in customer service. After she was laid off, a former O-I manager called and encouraged her to apply for the secretary's position with the City of Rossford. That former boss was city administrator Ken Gwozdz.
"It was totally different- the private workforce versus public," she recalled. "Here you need a resolution or ordinance to do things."
A Toledo native, she and her husband, Jim, moved to Rossford in 1976, and had two children, Julie and Jim. Mr. Plikerd passed away in 2005.
Life in a small town came with some adjustments, she said.
"When I first started working, residents would come and say 'who are you?'" she said.
The convenience of living "about a minute away from the office" was always nice, she said, but also unusual.
During a snowstorm in 1988, Mrs. Plikerd called into work, explaining that she was worried about the driving conditions.
"They just sent Officer Micky Reiter to come pick me up," she said, with a laugh.
Her position with the city also made her a familiar face around town.
"No matter where you go, they say to me, 'you work for the city,'" she said.
Because the city staff is small, Mrs. Plikerd had the opportunity to be involved with many projects, but she primarily was responsible for handling payroll and assisting zoning inspector Rick Drouard with zoning matters.
During her 18 years, she reported to city administrators Ken Gwozdz, Vince Langevin and currently, Ed Ciecka.
Along with receiving an education on a variety of city issues, she also learned through her interactions with city officials and citizens.
"It taught me to be more patient with people and to listen," she added.
Her retirement plans now include traveling to visit her two grandsons and family members spread around the country. She also will be busy planning her son's upcoming wedding.
Mrs. Plikerd promises to remain involved in the community, especially at All Saints Catholic Church. She assists with the summer festival, and at bingo every Thursday night. She also volunteers at the annual Almeister golf outing for Rossford Police Patrolmen's Association.
"This gives me the opportunity to do whatever comes up," she said.
Mrs. Plikerd said she will take many fond memories into retirement.
"The nice thing about the job has been meeting people who lived in the city and helping them with the problems they had," she concluded. "It was always nice when new people would come in, and I could say, 'Welcome to Rossford.'"