Shelby Cross, Online Reporter
Keith Whisenhunt’s official title is Customer Service Specialist One, but most people at Pierce College Puyallup simply call him “The Cashier.”
This is Whisenhunt’s second year working on the Puyallup campus. He began his time at Pierce working part time at Joint Base Lewis-McChord after being in the customer service industry for 10 years at businesses like RadioShack, the GAP and Sunglass Hut to name a few.
After eight months at JBLM, a full-time position opened up at the Puyallup campus and he decided to switch over.
In his two years on the Puyallup campus the only major event he witnessed was the fire alarm going off in the Gaspard Administration building because someone set the microwave to 21 minutes for a bag of popcorn.
“That popcorn was done,” Whisenhunt said.
As a cashier, Whisenhunt has to ensure that student’s payments to their accounts with the college are completed, keeps track of tuition installment plans and communicates with Financial Aid to see how much students can apply to their accounts. Every payment goes through his department to get a good once over.
Whisenhunt is also the main records keeper for both the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campuses, which puts him in charge of making and updating the spreadsheets that record every payment made for students tuition and fees. When he’s not taking calls, checking emails or helping students in one of the Cashier’s Office windows he’s probably working on spreadsheets.
But for Whisenhunt, this job isn’t about the numbers, it’s about the people they effect.
Being a cashier seems to come naturally to him now, but he deeply enjoys his job because he’s able to help students achieve their dreams.
The hardest part of the job for Whisenhunt is having to tell students that he can’t help them any further and that attending Pierce this quarter might not be an option for them.
“That never gets easy,” Whisenhunt said.
Whisenhunt graduated from Pierce with the class of 2016 last spring with an Associate in Business and an Associate of Arts.
“It was so fun I got two of them,” he said.
Whisenhunt is originally from Dallas, Texas but after relocating to the Pacific Northwest he decided to never leave.
“Texas is flat, it’s dry, it’s hot and it’s everything this place isn’t,” he said.
When he arrived in Washington he immediately fell in love with not only the state, but his wife Cassee, now of five years.Together they’re raising two children, one 17 month old and one two year old, and two mixed siamese cats.
For Whisenhunt, caring for his young family is his number one priority. He describes himself as being tenacious and dedicated to his goals, working toward them until they’re achieved.
One such dream is earning a master’s in accounting and a Certified Public Accountant’s license and either working for or owning an accounting firm within the next five years.
Outside of work, Whisenhunt loves “turning raw materials into new and interesting things,” mostly through crocheting and woodworking.
He carried over a love of the outdoors and sense of adventure from his childhood, and loves seeing what new paths he can take. Hiking and camping are some of his favorite activities, with his earliest memory being camping with his dad in the middle of nowhere next to a canyon in New Mexico that he said can only be described as gorgeous.
His ultimate hobby, however, is brewing.
Whisenhunt’s interest stemmed from a particular night eight years ago when he and his roommates were drinking beers on the couch, watching TV, when a documentary on home brewing came on. Whisenhunt said he looked down at the beer in his hand and realized he could be making it himself. He bought a home brewing kit online that same night and has been brewing ever since. Currently he has a plum wine in the works along with two batches of mead, and he and his family have been enjoying a hard cider an IPA he made.
In 2014, his family began Truth Teller Cellars in Woodinville, Wa. It opened last month after waiting two years to ferment the wine. Whisenhunt hopes to get more involved with the business when more of his time frees up.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost