We Are DES: Meet Joe Norwood
This is a part of our featured story series “We Are DES.” These stories will introduce you to an individual at DES and the work they do to help fulfill the DES mission — you’ll also learn some fun details about how they spend time outside of work.
Contracts & Procurement
Customer Service Specialist 2
What year did you start at DES?
In 2017, I started as a customer service representative for Printing & Imaging. I worked there for over two years before transferring to Contracts & Procurement (C&P) in 2019. I have been with C&P ever since.
What year did you begin working for Washington state?
In two sentences or less, describe what you do at DES.
I provide customer service support for the procurement system that the state uses, called Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS). I take inquiries and monitor businesses’ accounts to be sure that they can get all the opportunities of doing business with the state. I also provide instruction and helpful tips for those new to the system of WEBS, or those who need help or assistance.
How do you believe your role supports the DES mission of strengthening the business of government?
I always take a proactive approach to help solve the dilemmas of customers by providing professional feedback and offering suggestions that help the customer have a positive experience with “doing business with the state.” Also, my customer service experience in the private sector strengthens and enhances my role as a customer service representative for DES, because I’ve had years of customer service experience in both the private and public sectors to draw from.
In what ways do you experience DES values in your everyday work? (respect; integrity; excellence; diversity, equity & inclusion)
I try to respect all people regardless of their background, race, culture, religion, belief system, or other criteria. I have been fortunate to participate in DES outreach functions for small and diverse businesses, such as the DES Business Diversity Advisory Group (BDAG) and C&P’s internal Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) workgroup. I’ve also been able to represent DES by attending/presenting materials for various other outreach events and trainings. I feel very grateful to those who have encouraged me along this path!!
What did you do before working at DES?
Before joining DES, I worked in the grocery industry for Safeway for more than 15 years in Lacey. My job in the retail industry allowed me to form friendships and really connect with the people of the local community in Washington state. Prior to my job in retail, I learned customer service while serving as a senior rental representative at a truck leasing facility in Fresno, California. I learned the foundations of business and customer service by working for my parents in their real estate brokerage. I enjoy engaging with people, and I am passionate about being able to make a positive difference in people’s lives!!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy getting out in nature and going for hikes or long walks on the beach, whenever I get the chance!! Over the last two years, I have been able to hike in five different states!! The more memorable hikes that I did were hikes in Mount Rainer National Park, the Hoh Rainforest, along with snowshoeing in Leavenworth. Recently, I enjoyed a walk along Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, and I experienced a really beautiful sunset!!
What is a fun fact about you?
I enjoy preparing a nice meal!! I am not a professionally trained chef by any means, but I have developed a taste for certain ethnic cooking styles. I use herbs and various spices that I enjoy incorporating into my own cooking style!! I especially like experiencing food that is culturally diverse!