When John Powers put in a request to be hired as the Mount Airy postmaster, he didn’t know he would be continuing with the district job he already held and adding the postmaster duties to that.
Powers, who grew up in Florida, has been serving as the service coordinator for the Greensboro district of the United States Postal Service since 2009, which means a lot of traveling from the coast to the mountains. The Greensboro district covers the northern half of North Carolina from the Outer Banks to the Tennessee line.
The Mount Airy post has been served by an interim, the King postmaster, since Kay Moore retired July 31, 2012. Effective Feb. 9, Powers was named the new Mount Airy postmaster.
This week, Powers began staying in Mount Airy, after purchasing an RV, which he is living in at the Mayberry Campground. “I figured that would be easier,” he said since he does so much traveling. “I own a home near Goldsboro, so we’re going to rent that out.”
Powers went to school and graduated in Florida, then served in the U.S. Army. He received a medical disability discharge from service.
“I started with the post office 18 years ago in Longwood, and then I went to Cocoa Beach,” he said of his start in Florida as a rural carrier substitute and then subsequent move to a city carrier position. “I was a city letter carrier union president, which doesn’t make much sense since I’m in management now.
“It is another government organization,” Powers said of why he chose postal service following the military. “There is job security. The post office has never had a layoff, and there are good benefits.”
Growing up, when he wasn’t in school in Florida, he was on his aunt and uncle’s farm in Burlington, so Powers was familiar with North Carolina.
“My son was 9, and I wanted to get him out of Florida,” Powers said. “So I asked to be transferred to North Carolina.”
In 2003, Powers moved to Goldsboro. Then two years later, he was transferred to Smithfield, before getting the district position in 2009.
Powers’ wife, Jamie, also works for the postal service, but as a window clerk and distribution in Pikeville. She started her role after the family moved to North Carolina.
As soon as a position can be found for her closer to Mount Airy, she will be joining Powers in the area.
John Powers’ son, John, 19, is employed at Walmart and hopes to transfer to the area as well.
Powers’ district role means traveling to many post offices across the state and doing service audits.
“I didn’t know I’d be doing the district job and Mount Airy postmaster,” he said of his decision to put in for the position when it opened up.
But he said he’s glad to be here. “It’s Mayberry. As a matter of fact, when I got it, I called my mom and said, ‘I’m the postmaster of Mayberry,’” Powers said.
He said in his district role, and now with the addition of postmaster duties, he has little time where he isn’t working. He enjoys ATVing, camping and doing other outside activities, but recently sold his ATV because he didn’t have time for it.
“Service is my big thing,” he said of one area he wants to continue to improve here. “And like any other company, we need to work on things like people taking advantage of working too many hours and things like that. The post office has been all over the news about how money is tight.”
As far as the move by the postmaster general to end Saturday mail delivery, Powers said last week the U.S. House of Representatives entered a bill to stop that action, meaning Saturday delivery could continue.
“I like being in management, because I like informing people. Even sitting in the office, you get phone calls from people who want to just talk to you, and people come to the counter wanting to talk to you,” he said. “The postmaster is a pretty prestigious position even within the ranks, and the lower level postmaster positions, many times, are used as a stepping stone for those wanting to move up.”
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1923.