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Trucking through life as an admin

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Carrie Aulenbacher is the executive administrative assistant to the CEO of Lake Erie Logistics in Erie, Pa., and she loves her job. “I was hired through a program at the business college I attended 15 years ago—so this is still my first job ever.”

One of the biggest challenges of the job, says Aulenbacher, is any manager in any division can ask for her help. She’s not just juggling tasks from the CEO, but from all five divisions: Benco Leasing, Lake Erie Ware­­house, Transportation Invest­­ment Group, Truckmen Services and Lake Erie Logistics.

“I have to be very organized to keep everyone happy on short deadlines,” she says. “I embrace the on­­slaught by never saying ‘no,’ but being upfront about how long the task might take.”

A typical day might include fuel billing, making forms for a shop mechanic, overseeing the company newsletter, ordering supplies and essentials, going through the CEO’s inbox and checking the fuel pump. “It’s the variety that I absolutely love,” she says.

Aulenbacher has a few tips for being an admin assisting so many people in a fast-moving company like Lake Erie Logistics.

•  Get organized. “Organization is the groundwork to an admin’s success. My job did not come with an instruction manual, so over the years I created one. My ‘how to get it done’ book now sits on my desk at all times in case I’m ever not around and something needs to get done.”

•  Choose a field you’re interested in. “I’m a third-generation trucker and trucking is in my blood. I can’t imagine being anywhere else—I could get dirty with the mechanics in a minute if need be. I love every aspect of our logistics company, and that love translates into my work. So an admin’s devotion to the company is very important.”

•  Look ahead. “Anticipating a crisis by being prepared often prevents a situation from becoming a crisis in the first place and keeps things running smoothly, which is what I pride myself on.

“I don’t need to be in the spotlight here. I just want to make sure the spotlight turns on and is focused on the right spot when the time comes.”

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