Meet Jessica McKinney, Technical Assistant
If you've visited the Town of Pulaski's Municipal Offices, chances are you've been up to the second floor to see one of our employees for a meeting or something similar. The only way up for the public is through the elevator. The elevator lets you out smack dab in the middle of our offices, but you'll likely be greeted by a smiling face waving at you as soon as the doors have opened.
Jessica McKinney is the Technical Assistant for the Town of Pulaski, and has held that position since July of 2017. She could be considered a jack of all trades: "I do a little bit of everything for about every department. I handle building permits and stuff coming in, and now a lot more with the zoning permits and I do a lot of scheduling with Heritage Park and also with Jackson Park." Through the permits, she often interacts with the public. With the variety of permits that she handles, most of the public visiting our second floor are often there to see her. "It's really nice to be able to interact with all of the citizens that come up, to get an idea of what's going on out there [in Town] and what the citizens are needing and looking for, and it just gives me a chance to socialize."
Before Jessica began working for the Town of Pulaski, she actually spent some time working with veterinary clinics; 22 years of time, to be exact. A lot of those skills ended up transferring over to current position though. "I also had to learn and cross-train with receptionists, so I did a lot of customer service, file keeping, organizing, and scheduling appointments." She spent so much time in the veterinary environment because of her passion for animals. If it weren't for the need of a more stable environment and income, she likely would have continued working in that field. She does miss the field and being able to help out her friends and family with pets of their own, but she's glad to have found a place here with the Town.
Jessica is heavily involved with the Town of Pulaski's community outside of work as well. Jessica has been on the Friends of Pulaski Theatre board since 2008, along with her mother and father; they actually met in the theatre! They all frequently take part in the theatre's activities as well. "My parents made sure that my brother and I grew up around the arts, and that we had an appreciation of it. Growing up, the [Pulaski] Theatre was a big part of stories that my mom and dad would tell us, and when the theatre was still open we would always go and watch movies." Outside of her work on the board with the Pulaski Theatre, she also sets on many other boards, and takes part in various groups and organizations in Town. "I'm with the Emergency Needs Task Force, the PuLOVEski board, the Pulaski Arts and Culture Collective board. Working with P.A.C.C. means I get to help out with the Fine Arts Center [for the New River Valley] and the Ratcliffe Transportation Museum. I also help out with the New River Valley Regional Theatre; I've stepped in and done a couple performances when they needed somebody to fill a slot." Jessica actually ran her own theatre company at one point; the Dionysus Theatre Company. They held one performance in the Pulaski Theatre, but due to time constraints with work and her actors/actresses attending college or moving, the company was short lived.
Jessica is very well liked among her coworkers, but there's one in particular who I would call her partner in crime. "I would say that Marion and I just clicked. She tried to get me in trouble my first day with talking about that other New Yorker downstairs" (Marion's sister) "and how horrible she was, and when I said that I actually liked Raquel, that's when Marion goes ‘I knew I liked you'." Take it from this interviewer; my office is right next to Marion's, so I get to listen to their antics all the time (it's one of the best parts of my day).
Jessica spent most of her life growing up just down the road in Draper, but she now lives here in Town. She loves the diversity of geography and nature in the area. "We have mountains, we have fields, and we have a lot of wildlife. Lakes, streams, reservoirs. I just think it's a beautiful, gorgeous community and it has a lot of potential." She doesn't get a lot of downtime, but when she does she likes to read, catch up on movies, and hang out with her pets. The occasional hike is thrown in the mix as well, along with some painting, especially watercolors. Picking out a favorite band or artist was a difficult decision, but one of her favorite groups is Godsmack, a rock band who wrote a lot of material in the late 90's and early 2000's. When it comes to pets, Jessica doesn't discriminate. "I think cats fit my personality more, but I don't really have a preference. All of the above, all animals." She has one dog named Gypsy and three cats: Piper, Sir Chubbz and Gaius. She got the inspiration for Gaius's name from the TV show Battlestar Galactica; Jessica is also a huge science fiction buff. When it comes to time off, her favorite vacation destination is Iceland. "I love travelling, but my all-time favorite place that I would go back to 100 times is Iceland." She's planning to go back and visit Iceland, Norway and more of the Northern Europe area on her honeymoon. She just got engaged last month, so congratulations to her and her fiancé! And I finally found someone else in the office who shares my love for pineapple on pizza! Jessica loves the topping: "I love the savory-sweet combination, or spicy-sweet." We're well on our way to turning the Town of Pulaski offices into the pineapple-on-pizza headquarters of Southwest Virginia.
We're proud to count Jessica as one of our team members here in the Town offices, and we look forward to continuing to work with her and her outstanding skills with the public alongside all of her other admirable qualities.