Ask any of Amy Klos’ coworkers or supervisors and they’ll all say the same thing when it comes to the 21-year employee’s job performance at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse: She’s the one that holds things together.
“Amy is always available to us no matter what is happening, she can multitask better than anyone and she always gets the job done well,” said Shannon Murphy, director of treatment at the Batavia clinic on East Main Street. “Amy truly cares about every staff member and our patients, and on most days, she is the glue.”
Murphy’s glowing assessment reflects the commitment and dedication that Klos (in photo at right) has provided to the agency since starting as a secretary at its former Growney building location at Bank Street and Washington Avenue in 1999.
Since then, she has taken on more responsibility and, just recently, was promoted to the position of customer relations manager for UConnectCare’s Batavia and Albion clinics as well as the Opioid Treatment Program facility in Batavia.
A lifelong Oakfield resident, Klos found her way to UConnectCare after receiving a two-year degree from Central City Business Institute in Syracuse in the mid-1980s and working at the office of Dr. Yeong Lee, a Batavia pediatrician.
“I found out about the UConnectCare job from women who worked there and took their children to Dr. Lee,” she said. “They told me that they were in need of a secretary at UConnectCare, they posed the question and checked it out.”
Klos said she and two or three others worked in the front office (located in the basement of the Growney building) checking clients in, answering the telephone and verifying health insurance.
“I worked there for about 10 years before moving to the agency’s current location on East Main Street,” she said. “John Bennett was running the outpatient clinic – he now is UConnectCare’s executive director – and I was his secretary and also worked in the front office at the same time.”
As time passed, Klos moved into the director of treatment secretary position while continuing to assist the support staff, and in the late 2000s, she was elevated to supervisor of the Batavia office, overseeing a half-dozen employees.
“The agency was expanding at that time – the numbers in the clinic were increasing and the opioid epidemic also hit, which increased our workload and productivity,” Klos said, “and along with that came changes to policies and procedures.”
Three years ago, Klos was promoted to supervisor of the treatment and OTP (methadone) clinics and now has added an oversight role at the Albion clinic.
She said she is tasked with getting everyone on the same page, so to speak.
“Generally, the responsibilities across the clinics are very similar, so we’re trying to make all three offices the same as far as protocols and policies,” she explained. “There are some slight differences depending upon the doctor you’re working with, the day of the week and the prescribed dosage.”
Klos is a key player in the integration of services and procedures and, when at full strength, she is supervising eight full-time and part-time secretaries.
She said the best thing about UConnectCare is the “teamwork” displayed by the staff, which, by the way, includes her daughter, Katie, a nurse.
“The employees here help each other out and it’s great to know that people have your back. And it’s also nice to know that you can help people,” Klos said. “Change happens frequently but no matter what, you still have the basics. You have to remember to say please and thank you. That goes a long way and too many people don’t realize that.”
Klos said she strives to make a positive impact upon clients’ lives.
“When people are struggling, giving them a helping hand really does make a difference. I say to patients all the time, ‘I’m here if you want the help. If you don’t want the help, that’s up to you, but we’re here to help you 100 percent along the way.’ ”
When not on duty, Klos is keeping an eye on her mom, Ann Perfitt, who lives across the street from her in the village; joins in her husband as they “flip houses” on the weekends, enjoys outdoor activities and has fun with the family dog, Sam.
Murphy said she hopes Klos stays with the agency for another 20 years.
“Personally, I have had the pleasure of working next to Amy for over 15 years. She is diligent, smart and able to do her job while truly caring about everyone involved,” Murphy said. “I cannot imagine what I would do without her right next to me and as my friend. She truly is loved by all.”
In other UConnectCare news, the following employees were recognized recently for their longevity with the company:
Five years — Brenda Post, QA/corporate compliance officer, Genesee County Clinic; Shandi Temperato, chemical dependency counselor, Orleans County Clinic.
Ten years — Diana Fulcomer, prevention educator, Orleans Prevention Program; Cherlyne Gerould, payroll manager, Genesee County Administration.
Fifteen years — Sherri Bensley, assistant director of prevention, Orleans Prevention Program; Nick Mardino, maintenance, Orleans County Clinic.
Twenty years — Cyndi Mardino, secretary, Orleans County Clinic; Stephanie Nadolinski, house manager, Atwater Community Residential Program.
Thirty years — Kim Corcoran, human resources/administrative assistant, Genesee County Administration.