Kathy Packer packs it up after spending 31 years at Colorado Secretary of State

Colorado Secretary of State employee Kathy Packer retired today after more than 30 years working for the office. From left to right, Deputy IT director Jeff Oliver, IT director Trevor Timmons, Packer and Secretary Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State employee Kathy Packer retired today after more than 30 years working for the office. From left to right, Deputy IT director Jeff Oliver, IT director Trevor Timmons, Packer and Secretary Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

By Julia Sunny and Lynn Bartels

When Kathy Packer started working at the age of 18, Dick Lamm was governor of Colorado, Federico Peña was mayor of Denver and Secretary of State Natalie Meyer was her boss.

Kathy Packer, who turns 50 next month, has worked for the Colorado Secretary of State's office since she was 18. She is retiring effective today. (SOS picture)
Kathy Packer, who turns 50 next month, has worked for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office since she was 18.

“Natalie was a very classy, professional lady, always very poised and put together,” Packer recalled.

Packer would go on to work for seven more secretaries of state, including the current officeholder, Wayne Williams, before deciding to call it quits.

Her last day was today, June 30. Her co-workers held a party to celebrate her 31½-year-career in state government, all at the Secretary of State’s office.

“She’s a people person, which means she has a customer-centric approach,” said Trevor Timmons, the director of information technology, where Packer has worked in recent years. “She is awesome.”

Kathy when she began work at the SOS.
Kathy when she began work at the SOS.

Packer started out as a temp in the cashier’s office in 1984, then worked in the business department, on the IT desk and as a supervisor for the help desk.  During her last three years, she worked as a  quality assurance software tester.

“I didn’t go to college, so I worked my way up,” Packer said. “I was given so many opportunities here, all of which I am so thankful for.”

Timmons said the reason Packer has been so successful in her last position is because of her vast knowledge of how the Secretary of State’s office operates.

“She knows how we manage information behind the scenes, and what people need that information for,” he said.

A sign at Packer’s desk station reads “I’m going to retire and live off my life savings. What I’m going to do the second day, I have no idea.”

Gigi Dennis is sworn in as Colorado's 34th secretary of state in 2005. (RMN)
Gigi Dennis is sworn in as Colorado’s 34th secretary of state in 2005. (RMN)

Packer, of Lakewood, said she plans to spend her retirement on “me time” and spending more time with her husband of 21 years, Stan, and their son, Austin, who graduated from Bear Creek High School in May.

The family plans to celebrate her 50th birthday next month with a cruise to the Caribbean.

In addition to Meyer and Williams, the other secretaries of state Packer has worked for are Vikki Buckley, Donetta Davidson, Gigi Dennis, Mike Coffman, Bernie Buescher and Scott Gessler. Dennis was a favorite.

“She always took the time,” Packer said, “to walk around the office and have conversations with everyone.”

Dennis echoed the sentiment.

“Kathy is a delightful woman who was always professional and cheerful,” Dennis. said. “She was a dedicated state servant to Colorado and our residents.”  

Dennis photo: Rocky Mountain News/Denver Public Library’s Western History/Genealogy Department

Julia Sunny is a Colorado State University student interning at the Secretary of State’s office.