She’s been part of five different companies and continues to work in a career that she describes as amazing.
TDS’ Debbie Hernandez, supervisor of Consumer Sales – Retail, started for a satellite communications company owned by Schenck Construction—a builder of cable companies in 1984. Schenck then sold this system to Fanch Communications, a Denver-based cable operator. Fanch sold its Colorado operations to US Cable. Then in 2011, US Cable was acquired by Baja Broadband, which in 2013 was acquired by Telephone and Data Systems, Inc.
“It’s certainly been a winding road,” said Debbie, who works out of the Berthoud, Colorado office, and serves the Northern Colorado cable markets. “To be honest, it seems like yesterday when I started. It’s crazy to think it’s been 35 years.”
Debbie remembers when everything was completed with paper, and when the company launched internet and analog reclamation. “Each [new technology] came with a change and a new learning curve,” she said. “It’s really been a very interesting place to work.”
Today, Debbie trains new hires, manages, and coaches her consumer sales team. She enjoys providing the new hires with mini-lessons so they can succeed at their job. Her supervisor, Phil Bunnow, manager of Contact Center & Retail Opps, calls her the “job-aide queen.”
Phil added that Debbie brings “a contagious positive attitude to work no matter the circumstance, and finds unique ways to solve problems all the time. Colorado wouldn’t be the same without her, her efforts, and her expertise. She’s truly an ambassador for our customers, our representatives, and our organization. As an unsung hero, she deserves this recognition and more!”
Over the years, Debbie has worked in several areas, including direct sales, office management, human resources, dispatch, marketing, and channel mapping, to name a few.
“I’ve learned so much from everyone I worked for. We were small enough that you had to do a lot of jobs.” Debbie recalls she’s even done tech work.
“I used to solder little prongs on the customer converters when they purchased new channels such as HBO,” she said. “We all did what was needed.”
Debbie was born in Georgia, but because her dad was in the Air Force, she’s lived all over the country, including Texas and Alamogordo, New Mexico. When TDS converted to a new billing system, she traveled to Alamogordo for training. “It brought back a lot of memories of when I would go sledding on the dunes in White Sands National Monument,” she said.
Today, Debbie lives in Johnstown, Colorado with her husband, Joe. The two have been married for 18 years.
“We’re a blended family and we each have two children, with nine grandchildren in all,” she said. “The grandkids keep us busy.”
For years, Debbie was an avid softball player. She played fast pitch softball in high school and started playing slow pitch at 32. She played softball for 25 more years and would still be playing if her knees didn’t give out on her. “I really miss the game. It was a big part of my life for a long time.”
However, her husband plays senior softball for the Scrap Iron Softball League, so she travels to cheer him and his team on in tournaments in Arizona, Las Vegas, and Florida. Her grandchildren also play baseball and softball. “We are a softball family for sure.”
Debbie is also a huge Colorado Rockies fan and attends about 10 to 12 Colorado Rockies games each year. This year, she was only able to attend one game because of softball trips and she’s been caring for her 85-year-old mother, who fell a few months ago and needed some extra help. “My mother is better now and becoming more independent.”
In addition to travelling and reading, Debbie enjoys being involved in her community. She served two terms on the Johnstown Town Council from 1986 to 1994. She also helped start Johnstown-Milliken Christmas Caring program, which supports those in need.
“I love to fundraise in my local community.”
It’s obvious when you meet Debra that she is a people person.
“I love to talk to people; they really interest me,” she said. “I also love the people of Colorado. We have great employees here.”
Congratulations Debbie on your 35th work anniversary!