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Audra Coon, Seasoned Business Services Assistant

By Kevin Hinchey
January 23, 2008

Photo by Christina VanHorn, Human Resources

If there has been one constant throughout Audra Coon’s career at UNH, it’s change.

“I started one week before I was getting married – it made for an interesting start to a new job – I worked 3 days and took 2 weeks off – not bad hours, I’d say,” says Coon, who came to UNH as an hourly employee in accounts payable (AP) in 1999.

Moving to New Hampshire from her home state of Connecticut in May of 1999, she found the campus to be breathtaking.

“I was going through the want ads one day trying to find a job and found an hourly position in AP and applied for it. I think my 10-plus years in banking were a help in getting me that job and I was fortunate enough to be picked up as a senior business service assistant by the Advancement Business Service Center in the Alumni building not a year later.”

Coon’s career path has taken her to the same position within the central administration and she now works for the Academic Affairs business service center. Some of her many responsibilities include weekly payroll for police, dispatch, security, campus recreation, the Whittemore Center, health services, and the office of community service; managing several police grants as well as plant funds and gift funds; all accounting functions that go with paying invoices, journaling funds, and daily deposits; P-Card manager on 60-plus purchasing cards; billing internal and external vendor’s for all police/security details; receiving payments for surrounding home and business security and fire alarm accounts (any home or business in Durham, Lee, Madbury, and Barrington that has a security or fire alarm system that is hooked into UNH dispatch.) and “other duties as assigned.” Whew.

In order to smoothly navigate those many responsibilities, one must have multi-tasking skills, Coon says. Working in a business service center (BSC) means having to know how things in human resources, payroll, accounts payable and purchasing are done as the BSC is the ‘end-all for all things’.

“We have to know policies from all of the core departments to perform our jobs. You have to be open to change as things are always moving in different directions around here. New processes are always being created as far as how we enter our work. New forms are always made available on UNH web sites,” Coon says. “The updates done to Banner are always a new challenge when things don’t work like they used to. You also need a really good sense of humor; without that you’re in trouble.”

Coon says her favorite part of the job is working with such wonderful people.

“My director, Nancy Hamer, manager, Kathy Donovan, and co-workers have been overwhelmingly supportive these last few years. I’ve had both my children while working with them and lost my mother within months of delivering our son,” Coon says. “They have listened to me rant and rave and truly supported me during these life-altering events. I can’t thank them enough for their support and understanding. I have made so many friends in the last 8 years. I feel really fortunate to say I know these people.”

About Coon, Hamer says, “Audra is a wonderful colleague and her contributions to the work and services of the Academic Affairs BSC are very much valued. To mention just one highlight about her great work is difficult, but I will happily venture to mention that she is the ‘guardian angel’ of the UNH police department's payroll process and so very much appreciated for her work in this area and for all concerned.”

Working in conjunction with various departments has given Coon tremendous insight into what makes the university’s working environment tick. She has also worked with Presidential Event’s, Media Relations, Editorial and Creative Services, the President’s Office, Human Resources, Residential Life, the MUB, OMSA, Alumni Association, Greek Affaires and the Controllers Office.

“I honestly can’t pick just one that I most enjoy. Each department I have worked with has been so interesting in so many different ways. I have a true sense of what it takes to make this campus run on a daily basis,” Coon says. “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that others just don’t know about that makes UNH run. I think that’s what makes me keep doing the work I do – it’s rewarding in so many different areas – although it can be very frustrating also.”

When asked who at UNH has had a positive impact on her, Coon didn’t hesitate.

“This may surprise them, I’m sure, but Kim Roundy and Donna Redfern had a great impact on me and it goes back to a quick conversation Kim and I had when he and Donna hired me. Kim told me to take the full retirement allocation of 6 percent and UNH will contribute 11 percent. He told me to do that with the first check I was to receive, that way I wasn’t missing it (the money that is),” Coon says. “They also were very supportive of me taking courses to further my education. I like to think Kim and Donna had faith in me - that I was going to be here for a while. They were both free to share their knowledge of UNH work/living and without their initial support back in 2000 I don’t know if I would have stayed.”

“They were so patient with me in teaching me all I needed to go forward here at UNH. I asked a lot of questions my first few months and I know today they gave me the best information they had to help me in my work. This is a teaching institution and these two people were essential in getting me where I am today so I’d like to say ‘Thank you both for teaching me the ropes.’ Because of that chance they took 8 years ago, my husband and I have been able to buy a house, and we now have two small children (Emily, 2 ½ and Owen, 5 months.) We’ve been able to start making a secure future for ourselves and our children. I am always saying ‘I’ll be here until our kids graduate UNH’ – I’ve got a long way to go and a lot more to learn.”

Coon, her husband (Larry), and children are residents of Barrington. They share a love of the outdoors and travel. Prior to having children the couple made several cross-country trips on their Harley Davidson. They also traveled to Prince Edward Island, Canada, New York, Pennsylvania, the New England states and along the coastal trails of Nova Scotia.

“We sold the Harley Davidson the winter we found I was expecting our daughter. Now that we have two small children, honestly, we just focus on making it through each day. We’re hoping to do some family trips this summer with the kids to surrounding parks and zoos. It’s all about the kids now,” Coon says. “We are saving to one day soon buy a small pop-up camper so we can camp comfortably on long weekends and enjoy the outdoors New Hampshire has to offer.”

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