OSV’s 50-year employee doesn’t plan to slow down

Mike Thomas (second from right) holds a certificate commemorating his 50 years of service at Our Sunday Visitor during a reception held in his honor on Nov. 18. With him are (from left) his supervisor, Michelle Hogan, of the publishing division; Tim Shoup, executive director of manufacturing; Cheryl Moore, director of human resources; and Kyle Hamilton, president and general manager, offertory solutions division.
Mike Thomas (second from right) holds a certificate commemorating his 50 years of service at Our Sunday Visitor during a reception held in his honor on Nov. 18. With him are (from left) his supervisor, Michelle Hogan, of the publishing division; Tim Shoup, executive director of manufacturing; Cheryl Moore, director of human resources; and Kyle Hamilton, president and general manager, offertory solutions division. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published Dec. 3, 2015.

Huntington resident Mike Thomas has been working in data processing at Our Sunday Visitor since 1965. During his 50 years of work, he has seen the field of data processing change from punch cards to PCs.

Thomas went to school for data processing at Fort Wayne International Business College in 1964. When he started his job at OSV, computers were just arriving on the scene.
 

“When I started working there, they had purchased their first computer,” Thomas says. “That would have been a big mainframe computer, and they had people already starting to go to school to learn about that.”

For Thomas, the progression of technology has not been a problem for him to understand, even though he has never received any formal training in it.

“I guess you just did it as part of the job,” Thomas says. “It was never hard. I never had any schooling beyond the basic business college. So everything I learned, I learned doing.”

Thomas says that computers have made his job a lot easier than it used to be. His department used to handle card trays that were at least an arm’s length.

The use of computers has also changed the way he works.

“I’ve basically worked in the same area although I don’t do any of the stuff I used to do as far as the accounting,” Thomas says.

Thomas says now he mainly handles collection envelopes.

“Our biggest business is church collection envelopes,” Thomas says, “and we mail 20 or 30 million a month.”

Thomas says that many people at OSV don’t know the old method of data management. Most of the people he worked with originally have either retired or passed away, but he has no plans for retirement.

“I don’t mind working,” Thomas says. “My wife is still working. She is a hair dresser, has her own beauty shop.”

One of the big reasons Thomas has stayed with OSV is the insurance.

“There’s great benefits at Our Sunday Visitor,” Thomas says. “We have a clinic there that is free to employees and spouses – if I worked someplace else, I would lose vacation, I’d lose benefits.”

Thomas says he likes the people he works with. Most people don’t look at him as “the old guy.” Even though he’s worked there for so long, he doesn’t plan on slowing down.

“I’ve always had, for the most part, bosses that are younger than me,” Thomas says. “Most people come and they say, ‘I wasn’t even alive when you started here!’ Most of them are the age of my kids or younger, but it’s never been a problem with me. Everybody knows how old I am, but I don’t think they think of it.”