She’s the woman behind the camera
Phyllis Neal is living out her dream.
As one of the IT technicians who works for the City of Brewton, she works alongside Doug O’Barr to meet the city’s technological needs.
It takes someone who is specially trained to come into a position that is responsible for the helping to keep everything up to date, she said.
“This is my dream job,” Neal said. “This is just the kind of work I wanted. I love what I am doing.”
Surrounded by the computers, keyboards and cameras, the office she and O’Barr share, the two occupie the space that was previously the mayor’s office.
Neal is a native of Escambia County and graduated from Flomaton High School in 1984. She married and became a stay-at-home mother for the next 22 years, raising her three daughters.
She then came to the point of her life, she said, when she became the sole provider for her girls and she realized the need to go to college. She enrolled at Jefferson Davis Community College and earn ed her associate’s degree in science in 2009. She then attended the University of West Florida, earning her bachelor’s degree in computer informational systems in 2012.
“I realized while I was going to JDCC just how much other students needed computer skills,” she said. “I worked for one summer to help teach tech skills to other students and decided that I wanted to work here in Brewton.”
She went on to serve an internship with Southern Pine for about 16 months before going to the Pensacola State campus at Century, Fla., for about 18 months.
“I began working for Brewton City Hall in May of 2014 as an IT technician. I realized I could use my skills of computers as an asset to the community. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
It is now her skills that are used to take care of estimated 70 computers used in Brewton City Hall, the Brewton Fire Department and the Brewton Public Library. She maintains the message center in downtown Brewton and posts to the the local television station as well as recording city council meetings. She tapes the T.R. Miller High School football games and band concerts. She maintains the Brewton City website and covers all city involved events, such as the Christmas parade, the Blueberry Drop and the Blueberry Festival. In fact she not only works a regular job doing all these things, but she is also on call whenever she is supposed to be off. But she is a trooper and doesn’t complain because she loves her job so much.
Not only has Neal spent a lot of time working, but she also saw the need to send all of her daughters to college to prepare for their futures. All three have gone to college and one of them is still attending. Neal doesn’t look old enough, but she has three grandchildren.
“I love to play with my granddaughters,” she said. “I play in a praise band at Little Escambia Baptist Church in Flomaton, and I like gardening and cooking.”
Neal said she is continuing her education by taking some classes. Since coming to work at city hall, she has completed a TIA which means she is certified to do pc repair network and service support. She is now working on her Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) where she can install, operate and troubleshoot small to medium size networks.
“This job has been all I could ask for,” she said. “Doug has been a great mentor. I’ll miss him a lot when he retires in the next few weeks. I am working somewhere I can meet people. It fulfills my life to be able to help someone with their computers.”