Pamela Murray, Engineering Draftsman, Neighborhood Development Services

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Philadelphia, and when it was time for school my parents moved to the suburb of Gladwyne. I have an older brother and 2 younger sisters.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?

I attended Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. At that time it was a junior college – I studied liberal arts. If I had graduated, it would have been in 1969. I stayed in the area and worked in retail stores and a few restaurants, did some traveling and then decided to move to Columbia, South Carolina in 1974.

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I stayed in South Carolina for 5 years and learned how to “draft” shop drawings for a subcontracting firm doing roof decks and acoustical ceilings. While in Columbia, I met some folks that lived in Charlottesville and I would come up here for various weekend parties. Virginia was much closer to my family in Pennsylvania, South Carolina was a little too hot, so, I decided to move here in 1979.

What neighborhood do you live in now? Any family?

My husband (who I met at one of those various weekend parties!) and I got married in 1983, lived in a house on Belmont Avenue, then moved to Oxford Road. When our children were old enough for school, we moved to Earlysville.  My husband, Drew, was a contractor for a number of years. After he left that business he joined his brother in the compost/mulch business. Our son, Derek, lives in Nashville and teaches special education in an elementary school, and our daughter, Hilary, lives in Northern Virginia and works as an event planner for a business consulting firm.

What were you doing before coming to work for the City?

When I first got to Charlottesville, some friends were opening a restaurant called Random Row and I waitressed there for a few years – all the while looking for that perfect 9-5 job, no holidays and no weekends! An opening with the City Engineering Division became available; I applied, got the job and have worked here since 1982.

Your job title is Engineering Technician. What, in your own words, would you say you do?

I do a variety of drawings for my department, such as sidewalk work, neighborhood drainage drawings, easement work for various projects, GIS work, etc. I update the structure layer, and I work with a small team to come up with new addresses and to fix addresses that are a problem. There are lots of those!

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is that fact that my office is on the downtown mall and we are in the midst of everything that goes on. I  work with a wonderful group of dedicated City employees and I truly love what I do every day.

The most difficult part?

The most difficult part of my job is realizing that “changes happen,” with new employees, new council members, new bosses, etc.  Regulations don’t stay the same!

What is a little-known fact about you?

I always wanted to be a professional ice skater – that comes from years of watching the Ice Capades and the Ice Follies as a young kid.

What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc?

Outside of working in City Hall, I have a second job at Plow & Hearth in Barracks Road – I can’t get enough of their Danskos! As far as other interests, I have been rowing with the Rivanna Rowing Club for about 20 years, I’ve been playing volleyball with the City leagues for a little over 30 years, I love to needlepoint and I love to read. I also love to garden but unfortunately the weeds get the best of me, and they grow faster than my flowers!

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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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