USPSA’s Staci Pulver: 25 Years And Counting

USPSA Advertising Coordinator Staci Pulver has been on the staff for a whopping 25 years.

by
at USPSA posted on June 6, 2024
Stacipulver USPSA 1
With 25 years of experience working for USPSA, Staci Pulver has been an integral part of USPSA HQ operations and a mentor to many other staffers.
Photo by USPSA

“Good morning, USPSA, this is Staci ...” That bright, cheerful sound would bring out the sunshine even from a cloudy, soggy day here in the “Pacific Northwet,” and make you know that everything would be alright again. Staci Pulver has become the backbone of the office, the go-to lady with 25 years of experience—talk about stick-to-it-iveness! Even when things would get tough and everyone was getting flustered, she was there. I don’t think Staci knows the meaning of the word “quit”—and for that, many people, myself included, are profoundly thankful. I am also happy to call her my friend. From the time she first came into the office until I retired, we could trade quips, head-shakes, eye-rolls and commiserate over the vicissitudes of life—ah, the memories are sweet.

Val Reule: When did you start with USPSA? What was your first job, and who was was in the office then?
Staci Pulver: Dave Thomas, our executive director at the time, hired me as the new receptionist, starting the first week of May in 1999. As I recall, the staff had been without a receptionist for about six month, so I was well received—they couldn’t wait to get me on phones!

Being first on phones meant I had to quickly learn the basics of the organization—ADs, SCs, CCs, NROI, competition shooting, divisions, categories, power factors, Virginia count (what count?), as well as what the rest of the staff did. Coming from a medical center, where I worked for surgery or internal medicine doctors, I knew my way around an office, but it took me a while to think in terms of “New Members and Info Packets” instead of “New Patients and Chart Prep.”

I remember during my call-back interview (I was hired the same day), asking Mr. Thomas about orientation day. He chuckled and said, “Oh, that will be OJT.” Val Reule helped me with the “on the job training.” I can’t thank her enough for her kindness and patience as I learned about the new world of competitive shooting. Others working in the USPSA office at that time were Barbara Gibbs, Roger Maier, Lynn Makela, Angela Gilliland, Ron Danielson and Kathy Quilliam, all of whom have retired or moved on to other things. Back then, there wasn't a website, so everything was done over the phone, by hand on score sheet forms (again, all checked by hand) and sent back and forth through the mail. I processed new members and renewals, I stuffed all the information packets (between 175 and 200 a week), helped others with their packets (new, renewal and club mailings) if they got backed up, along with copying for those who needed help.

Dave also gave me various projects and assignments to work on. I remember that first week, Dave asked me to work up a memo he wanted to send out. I got on my trusty IBM Selectric (yes, we still had typewriters at our work stations), and proceeded to create a perfect work of art ... margins, spacing and tabs, all on point. My high school typing teacher would have given me an A+. I proudly took my first assignment to Mr. Thomas for approval. He took my piece of paper, looked at it and then looked back at me. He got up and led me back to my desk, where he kindly showed me how to do the exact same thing—on the computer. I was to email it to the masses instead of making copies and mailing them this time.

Staci Pulver headshot
Staci Pulver took over the USPSA magazine (formerly called Front Sight) advertising responsibilities in 2009 and has worked as the Advertising Coordinator ever since that time.

 

VR: As you worked at USPSA, what other jobs did you take on? What is your current position?
SP: As USPSA grew and technology advanced, all our jobs morphed and we shifted accordingly. My main job still consisted of secretarial-type duties, but as the internet/website/online became more of a thing, the phones and paperwork slowed down a little. I was asked to take on the USPSA magazine (formerly called Front Sight) advertising responsibilities in 2009. It was a daunting task to go from competent and efficient to starting something completely foreign to me. This time, Barbara Gibbs trained me.

After a couple of magazine runs, I got the swing of things and have been the Advertising Coordinator ever since. (At the time, I worked with Roger Maier and then later with Robin Taylor). I love being the USPSA Advertising Coordinator. It is truly a pleasure working with our loyal supporters. I enjoy making sure all the advertisers, my regulars and the new folks, are taken care of with each issue. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve also enjoyed the friendships that I’ve forged over the years. The downside of 25 years is the loss of those who have passed away, or saying “good-bye” to those who have retired. Somewhere along the line, however, I volunteered to do all of the USPSA’s promotional mailings, and I also took over the Preferred Vendor Program.

VR: What people and incidents are most memorable?
SP: For people, I’d have to probably whittle it down to Nationals and SHOT Show, and meeting and watching the shooters when I went to USPSA Nationals two years in a row in Bend, Oregon (I believe it was 2002 and 2003). We had an office store at the time. Dave had me load up my Dodge Durango and I got to hang out in the vendors’ tent and sell T-shirts and various items. I also got to drive the golf cart around and deliver water to the shooters. It was a fabulous experience. I also got to attend SHOT Show in 2015. It was incredible. Since there was no USPSA booth that year, I wandered for miles, toting a roller bag, just like Dave’s, filled with media kits. By this time, I knew my advertisers, and it was great to put their names and faces together.

Side note: I got to meet Ted Nugent. In my personal life, I was in a band. When I told him that “Free For All” was a regular on our set list, he reached in his pocket and gave me a couple of guitar picks. Guns and music come together ... a perfect moment in time.

One of our offices in downtown Sedro-Woolley, Washington, was close to the Chamber of Commerce Department of Licensing. For some reason, people constantly wandered into our office, gawked at our banners and asked if they could renew their license. We all got used to saying “Three Doors Down” ... sometimes in unison (laughs).

The unwritten office rule was to alert everyone when Dave was walking across the street. This was expected of all of us, but since I was the one up front, it fell on me a good share of the time to be vigilant. This doesn’t mean that we were goofing off, mind you, but what office anywhere in the world doesn't want to know the boss man is on the way? The code was “The Bear Walks.” Those of you who remember our Executive Director Dave Thomas can picture him, walking with purpose, his briefcase and files (airport roller thing) in tow. It fits, right? One of my co-workers always had ideas that he felt compelled to share and get me involved with. He’d come up, knock on my desk and start with, “My dear lady …,” to which I’d turn around and politely listen. I learned to ask if Dave had approved this latest scheme. Sometimes, my peripheral vision would catch him sauntering over. Before he could knock, I’d say, “No!” or “No new ideas until after lunch!” At that point, he’d turn around and go back to his desk. If I wasn’t onboard with one of his schemes, he’d wait for me to leave my desk, then rearrange my pens and stapler, which he knew drove me nuts. It was harmless office shenanigans. I have so many funny stories from back in the day—good times.

VR: What changes have you seen with USPSA over the years, and what ones have been most helpful?
SP: I’d have to say the huge changes in technology and the use of computers, such as:

  • Slots were once filled out by hand over the phone, mailed back and forth for signatures, etc. USPSA members can now register and squad themselves.
  • The USPSA classification system once ran quarterly, then monthly, now it's done weekly
  • Verification of almost everything used to be done manually, meaning stacks of paper for all hands on deck.
  • Hit factors were calculated manually on worksheets (can’t remember the correct term).

Everything is online, which has made the Amazon, and other forests, happy, but it comes with its challenges. It's imperative that you have constant tech staff on hand or you’re rendered useless. (Thank you, Rick and Nathan!)

VR: Is working remotely more relaxed or is it stressful? What about human/office interaction?
SP: I had a 30 to 40 minute commute, depending on traffic and the train, so working from home is a huge convenience for me. Our dog, Theo, likes it too. He has his own setup and likes to watch me work. I enjoy taking walks or reading during my lunch break rather than running errands. I do miss seeing my co-workers, though. That interaction and human connection is something that you miss from time to time, but we do get to hear hear each other when we transfer calls or have questions we need to call about. Also, we USPSA HQ staffers work well together. A cohesiveness was established well before covid changed things. This has been to our advantage, and it’s something I don't take for granted.

VR: Will you continue working? What do you foresee in the next five to 10 years?
SP: I love my job. I plan to keep working as long as USPSA and my advertisers will have me.

What do I foresee in the future? I have no idea! The past 25 years has been a blur of change and progress. Let me put it in perspective this way ... One of the first questions Dave Thomas asked me was if I knew Microsoft Excel. I did not. I think now of the many spreadsheets I’ve done. I think of that first memo I typed up on a real piece of paper. I learned how to send my first email at USPSA. I didn’t even have a home computer at the time. Somewhere along the line, the receptionist job became obsolete, and simply faded away. I’ve seen the fax machine come and go. My previous jobs were medical-related and music-store related, nothing to do with firearms or advertising.

Things change so quickly now. I’m talking about life in general. I’ve learned to just roll with it and trust the process, which is easier said than done. I remember when we had to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7. I wasn’t sure if we were going to survive that seismic shift, but we did (laughs).

I’m so glad that I stumbled upon USPSA (which is another story for another day), and that Dave (and USPSA) took a chance on me. It turned out to be a great fit.

Article from the May/June 2024 issue of USPSA’s magazine.

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