Melany Graydon’s title may be administrative assistant, but thanks to the warm greeting she gives clients who visit the office, we call her our “Director of First Impressions.”
I came to Wagener-Lee after 14 years of raising three children – which is, as the saying goes, the “toughest job you’ll ever love.” Once my kids were in school, it was time to do something else and get back out into the world. Rick was my parents’ advisor, and through them I learned that he was looking for someone to help with administrative work. That was 11 years ago.
Melany helps maintain crucial client data, as well as lending key support to our office administration.
After graduating from James Madison University, I had planned to look for a job in social work, but no one was hiring. So I took the first job I could get, as a security guard for a Westinghouse facility in Linthicum, Maryland. From there, I climbed the career ladder at Westinghouse, transferring to jobs in the technical writing group for radar, then as a logistician for the F-16/B-1 bomber Program Management Group.
“I’m like the Mom in the office,” Melany says with a smile, handling a variety of tasks that keep the office humming.
My primary responsibilities are answering the phone and welcoming clients. I help with taxes and administration for Mike Shipley, order catering for meetings, and I volunteer for the biggest Howard Country fundraiser for cystic fibrosis, the Howard County Wine Masters event. I’ve served as the director of the Great Strides walk to benefit CF, I work with the Living Legacy Foundation, and my co-worker Carol and I crochet red hats for the American Heart Association’s annual Little Hats, Big Hearts™ project.
After my husband Mark retired from the Social Security Administration, an actor friend helped him put his resume together. His first job was on “Veep,” sitting next to Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a conference room scene. When she heard about Mark’s previous career, she asked if the props on the table looked authentic. He said they didn’t, so Julia called the prop man over and had him replace them with items Mark recommended. Since then, he’s appeared on “House of Cards,” “The Making of the Mob” and National Geographic specials. He loves period pieces where they dress him in mutton chops!
Did you know that Melany was born in a barn? At the time of her birth, Melany’s father was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base (formerly Kelly Field) near San Antonio, Texas. Her mother delivered a bouncing, baby girl in the base hospital. According to local legend, the maternity ward at Lackland was the repurposed horse stable for a cavalry unit attached to Kelly in the early days of the 20th century. On one occasion when Melany was a kid, she left door standing wide open and an adult asked her if she was born in a barn. Melany answered quite correctly, “As a matter of fact, I was.”
A self-described “Air Force brat,” Melany was raised on bases along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Florida and Texas, as well as Morocco and Germany. After her father retired from military service, Melany moved with her family to Maryland. She lives with her husband in West Friendship, and is the mother of three grown children. When she’s not working at Wagener-Lee or helping worthy causes, Melany enjoys travel and crocheting.