Employee Profile-Sharon Port

Sharon PortSharon Port is both highly visible and invisible. She’s the administrative assistant and the first face visitors see at the RTX office in Asheville, but there’s much she does behind the scenes that may not get noticed. She sits in a semicircle desk with a commanding view in the corner of the lobby, a waist-high desk encircling her, with floor to ceiling windows shining daylight into the atrium above.

She considers herself the assistant to the building, helping organize employee parties, handling the mail, maintenance issues, and so much more. Even the dreaded malfunctioning printer is no match for her. Sharon is friendly to all, greeting employees, asking about their day, and organizing both birthday and sympathy cards, both farewells and milestones.

“I just try to help out when I can, and make sure people have their supplies, or whatever they need,” she says.

Having had the privilege to visit 22 countries, and having spent a few years in Ethiopia growing up, Sharon says she’s thankful for being in the social position she’s in, and that’s led her to several current volunteer roles in the local community.

She’s a volunteer leader with Hands On, a division of United Way; she knits and crochets for a program called Knit and Give, which donates cold weather clothing items to charity organizations; and she also spends Saturdays at Ten Thousand Villages, a local fair-trade store. Artisans from places such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cameroon, Africa and India are paid a living wage for their goods, empowering families and aiming to eliminate slavery and human trafficking. The unique handmade goods or food items are then sold in the United States and elsewhere.

When the opportunity arose to volunteer dealing with fair-trade art from Africa, Sharon said it was a great fit, since she still has numerous African items in her home.

“I said, ‘This is the perfect project for me.’ You see so many unusual things coming in, you have artisans turning everyday items into works of art,” she says. “You know, a lot of people don’t get the opportunities I’ve had, so I’m very grateful to help.”

From the letter carrier, Peter, to delivery people to interviewees, Sharon greets them all. She has advice for those seeking new jobs – you’d better look sharp.

“I always notice what people wear. The way I’ve always been taught is, you really need to dress the part,” she says. “It should be professional, as you don’t know who you’re meeting; it could be the CEO riding in the elevator with you.”

Walking into the building on a rainy Monday morning, or leaving for a sunny three-day weekend, Sharon’s positivity radiates out like a sunbeam as she wishes you well.

“I say hi to everybody. That’s why I like sitting here, because I get a chance to say good morning to everyone, and that makes my day.”

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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