Lana Lee Forney has an opportunity to put her stamp on Los Altos as the city's new U.S. Postal Service postmaster.
A 34-year veteran postal clerk, Forney said she relishes the chance to serve the community she fell in love with 10 years ago as a temporary worker in the Los Altos post office.
"I'm just thrilled to be here," Forney said. "For me, Los Altos is more of a family-oriented community. I'm comfortable here."
Growing up with parents who were postal employees, Forney said she never considered any other career path.
She began working as a post office clerk in San Jose in 1974 and served as a letter carrier for a time. Over the years, Forney has worked at nearly 15 offices from San Jose to San Francisco and Menlo Park.
"I really feel like I found where I'm supposed to be," she said.
Being the town's postmaster is more than a job, Forney said, it is her passion and pride.
"The postal service is the best value in a competitive market today," Forney said. "How many hands a piece of mail goes through is amazing. I don't know another company that can do what we do for the price we do it at. That's what gives me the passion – I know how good we are, and it makes me proud to work for the postal service."
Forney described her schedule as hectic: she waits on customers, travels to San Francisco to attend meetings, analyzes services to improve quality and oversees more than 100 employees.
Another important aspect of her job, she said, entails responding to all customer input – positive and negative. She appreciates compliments, complaints, suggestions and comments, calling the feedback a "gift."
"I want customers to call us and give us information about how we can improve things. We need to act on those gifts," Forney said. "My door is always open to every customer."
Working out of the post office on First Street, Forney said she hopes to foster positive communication with the community.
"It's important that the postal service has close ties to the community to make sure that we are doing what we need to do to properly service our customers," she said.
Future plans include working with the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce to promote the postal service.
"We are â€¦ a vital public service across the nation, not just the community of Los Altos," Forney said. "Every citizen depends on the mail in some fashion."