For most of the 18 ½ years she has worked at ACS, Martha Krieg has helped Advantage clients with their upgrades, serving as the lead upgrade engineer for a dozen or so projects each year. Martha excels at handling masses of data and detail and she puts these skills to good use in working on upgrades. The initial code compare between the previous version and the new is an exercise in detail which Martha truly enjoys.
Perhaps it is her training in Library Science that makes that kind of detail child’s play to her. A native of Ohio, Martha began her education with a bachelor’s of arts in English from the College Of Wooster in Ohio. She and husband, Larry, then moved to Michigan so that they could attend graduate school at the University of Michigan, and they have lived in the area ever since. Martha earned a master’s degree in Romance Linguistics and one in Library Science, but jobs in the teaching and library fields were hard to come by at that time. She went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics at U of M, but as jobs in the field were still scarce, after working as a research assistant and proofreader at the Middle English Dictionary, she thought computer science would be more practical. She signed up for some computer classes at a local college, and there she found her new profession. She began teaching computer programming at Eastern Michigan University and the local community college, and returned to school again, this time earning a master’s degree in computer science from U of M. And somewhere in there, she found time to raise three children.
Martha then decided to enter the corporate world, and joined ACS (then T & B Computing) in 1995. She worked on the CIR team, led by Karl Davis, where she did some software development and worked in the technical support area. She began working on upgrades a few years later.
Her fellow upgrade engineer, Linda Woodman, has this to say about working with Martha: My one word to describe Martha would be “conscientious.” She is meticulous in doing her best for both the clients and the company, while aptly juggling technical issues and personalities along the way.”
Another coworker, Eva Weissman, admires Martha’s relationships with clients. “She really connects with the people she works with,” says Eva, “and watching her form friendships with clients is inspiring. Martha recalls all the little details she learns about an individual. So she won’t just wish someone a happy weekend; she can say “enjoy your beer at the pub, or chasing your kids at the park, or your knitting on the couch” because she has taken the time to get to know the person. That’s why clients love working with Martha, and trust her.”
One client, Amy Evans of CDS Global, experienced this sort of connection with Martha. “Looking back over the emails between Martha and me from the upgrades really did make me smile! We had a real “togetherness” whilst battling the rubbish that spun off from upgrade issues and dealing with the trivial questions that our testers raised, such as ‘why is the ADM screen a different colour.’
Amy goes on to say: “Martha really was one of my favourite people to work with; she always took time to explain things, going into technical detail, too. I learned a lot from her, and probably wouldn’t be half as good at my job now if it wasn’t for her. It was always an absolute pleasure when I saw her name crop up in my inbox! But perhaps my favourite part of working with Martha was learning of her love for locally brewed ales and beer, and her interest in art! It made a refreshing change to hear stories of the fun things she did on her weekends and of course, being a fellow ale/beer drinker, I enjoyed hearing those tales.”
Martha will have no problem keeping busy in her retirement, as her interests and hobbies are many and varied. Her fascination with medieval times has led her to participate in medieval reenactments, sew historically-accurate period garments, and sing in a medieval choir. She has won prizes at the state fair for her bobbin lace-making, and she grows peonies, iris, and daylilies. She is also a lay associate of the Cistercian (also called Trappist) order and participates in many activities with that order and with her local parish.
Martha speaks fluent Spanish, and also knows French and Italian. She has translated several books from these languages into English for Cistercian Publications and articles for Brill. Recently, she has taken book binding and restoration classes and may start her own business doing that, in addition to continuing her translation work. And as if four languages aren’t enough, Martha plans to study Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and German during retirement.
Martha lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan with her husband, Larry, a retired college professor, and their two cats. Her married daughter lives close by and Martha enjoys spending time with her 9- year-old grandson and 4-year old granddaughter. Martha’s other daughter lives near Washington, DC. As their children were growing up, Martha and Larry opened their home to a series of 10 exchange students, the last three as part of the Youth for Understanding program. She keeps in touch with them all over the world, but has become especially close to their final exchange student, from Japan, who lives nearby with her husband and children. Martha refers to Megumi as her third daughter.
Although she is certainly looking forward to retirement, there are many things Martha will miss about ACS. These include the people she has worked with, both at clients and at ACS, and the actual work which she has always found to be interesting and challenging. Of Ray Zick, her supervisor, Martha says he is a “lovely manager who has always had my back.”
Conversely, Ray says of her: “Martha is one of the hardest working people I know. She is truly dedicated to doing a good job and providing a quality client experience. It will be tough to fill her shoes--she will be missed in both a personal and a professional capacity.”
You certainly will be missed, Martha. We wish you the best of everything in your retirement!