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When Utility Billing Supervisor, Esmeralda Stockstill, began her career at the City of Haines City, she didn’t see it lasting for very long.
She had previously spent more than a decade in the banking industry and was frustrated with how behind the times the technology seemed to be in comparison.
“When I first got here, to find a customer, there was this huge rolodex,” she said. “I worked 12 years in banking and felt like I had gone back in time. I wanted to quit the first week.”
That was more than a quarter-century ago.
In late-July, Stockstill celebrated her 25-year work anniversary with the City of Haines City. She began as a utility billing clerk and has served as supervisor since May 2015. Working at the city, she said, has been a blessing.
“It’s real close to home,” Stockstill said. “When my kids were little, being able to spend more time with them was definitely an asset.”
As a supervisor, Stockstill oversees three utility billing clerks. Her duties include billing, ensuring accounts are open, entering work orders, setting up autopay, creating new accounted based on new construction and providing customer service among other things.
“Esmeralda consistently impresses me not only with her hard work and dedication to get the job done, but with her ability to stay calm and level-headed when customers get excited,” said Andrea Henley-Pratt, the city’s Deputy Finance Director and Stockstill’s supervisor. “She is truly an asset to the city and am I happy that she is on our team.”
Born and raised in the border city of Brownsville, Texas, Stockstill earned a degree in business administration from Lakeshore Technical College in Wisconsin in the early 1980s. In 1996, she moved to Florida to take a job with the City of Haines City and has never left.
What made her a perfect fit was her people skills. Stockstill said she’s always had thick skin.
“People are good and most of the time, they’re nice,” she said. “When they’re not, I let them say what they have to say and then we focus back on the issue. I just love to help them.”
In addition to the technology, she has also watched the city grow immensely over her 25 years of service. When Stockstill arrived, Haines City had less than 13,000 people. It’s more than doubled since then.
“The size of the city has really grown,” she said. “Back then, everybody knew everybody.”
When she’s not at work, Stockstill enjoys spending time with her family. Married to Wade Stockstill, she is a mother of four and a grandmother of nine.
“I love my family,” Stockstill said. “God first, family second. We love doing things together. Believe it or not, we still get together to play volleyball.”
Her hobbies include traveling to Tennessee, horseback riding, tubing, bowling and just generally being outdoors. In addition to working at the city, she once owned her own cleaning business. After her last child was born, she decided to focus more on her work in Haines City and her family.
“This is really a great place to work,” Stockstill said. “Everyone has been great to work with. I wouldn’t trade it for anything – even with the headaches.”