By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
A community of more than 6,000 individuals large enough to have its own ZIP code. About 4,500 pieces of mail comes from the post office to distribute each day, and campus mail accounts for another 2,000. Another 3,000 pieces of outgoing mail to send.
Scott Duncan, manager of University Mail Services, oversees it all. But that is only half of his job.
Although many students may never see Duncan, every piece of their mail is distributed by a system or on a schedule he devised. When not overseeing Mail Services, Duncan works for Kevin Watson, chief administrative services officer, completing whatever project needs completing.
Duncan’s job seems to morph to fit whatever needs are available, and after 18 years as a university employee, he has seen it change several times.
Duncan graduated from ACU with a bachelor’s degree in finance in the spring of 1985. His job search led him right back to ACU, where the Mail Services manager position was open.
Duncan said he never dreamed of working for the university, much less in Mail Services.
“It was a job,” Duncan said of why he chose to continue at ACU. “I had always enjoyed Abilene and the university.”
“The only thing I knew about mail was that you wrote a letter and stuck a stamp on it,” he said.
Even though he had little experience in Mail Services, Watson said Duncan had other characteristics that qualified him for the position.
“He is dedicated to the mission of the university and understands how to operate a division within a limited budget, save the university money and produce a good product,” Watson said in an e-mail. “We are fortunate to have him.”
Duncan had to operate on a learning curve when he began his position as manager of Mail Services, learning not only the procedures of the university but of the United States Postal Service.
“The postal service, being a government agency, they have their millions of pages of procedure to learn,” Duncan said.
Within a few months, Duncan had the policy and procedure down.
Because Duncan had an educational background in not only finance but computer science as well, Watson asked him to be involved with the university’s implementation of Banner-the computer software used to keep most of the university’s records.
Duncan became an integral part in coordinating the computer software for Mail Services, Physical Resources, The Campus Store and ACU Press and making the systems compatible with Banner. He has designed systems to track expenses and the budgets of all the different divisions.
“Scott has a love of detail and processing data that makes him uniquely qualified to help in this way,” Watson said. “He will continue to transition into more of an accounting role for our area-both in record keeping, reporting and budget coordination.”
While he makes that transition, however, Duncan continues to take charge of whatever project Watson has for him-something that intrigues him about his job.
“There’s not really a typical day,” Duncan said. “There’s so much that needs to be done.”
Some of those projects have included looking at the university’s rental property and deciding whether it is better for the university to lease or own vehicles. Last semester, Duncan’s job sent him walking around campus looking at the university’s signage to determine if it needed replacing.
But when all the odd jobs are completed, Duncan always has Mail Services to keep him occupied.
Duncan supervises four full-time employees to work in Mail Services and 11 student workers, a total that fluctuates from year to year.
They have daily goals and schedules to keep. Mail must be picked up before 8 a.m. from the downtown post office, otherwise it would not be delivered until 10 a.m. Incoming mail is sorted by 9:45 a.m. and in the Campus Center boxes by 11 in time for the Chapel crowd.
If any of those goals are not met, the whole process slows, which Duncan said causes misconceptions among students about Mail Services.
“Most students come to college, and they may have only mailed a letter or had their parents take care of it,” Duncan said. “Many students just expect their mail to arrive quicker.”
Duncan also said rumors swirl each year about certain magazines or issues-such as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition-that will not be delivered to students’ boxes.
“If you get something in the mail,” Duncan said, “you’re going to get it.”
And Duncan will be behind each piece of it, making sure the thousands of letters and packages arrive when and where they should.