My name is Bob Hammes and I’m an electronic technician at the National Printing Center in Topeka, KS. I provide general maintenance on all the equipment we use at the facility, which serves as an internal printer for the Postal Service.
My job is unique because I work on equipment unlike anywhere else in USPS. From printing presses and cutters to money order imprinters and electronic badge readers — if there’s a problem, I can fix it.
But I don’t like to look for quick fixes. I’d rather spend the time to find a long-term solution to the problem. This saves the Postal Service money and allows me the opportunity to tinker, which is what I do best.
I started with USPS in 1991. I’ve worked for 28 years at this facility. I’ve always excelled at electronics, going back to my days in high school, where I placed nationally in several engineering competitions.
Things change slowly at the National Printing Center, particularly with the equipment we use — this should be familiar to anyone who has worked for the Postal Service for many years. I have to be creative and work with what I have. I do this by integrating new parts and technology to our existing equipment.
USPS is a great organization to work for because we have excellent benefits. I enjoy my many weeks of paid vacation with my wife, Mary, and our three children: Morgan, Lindsey and Connor.
In my free time, I also enjoy flying remote control airplanes — not drones; those are too easy — and watching movies in my home theater, which I designed and installed myself.
There are times when an idea comes to me in the middle of the night about something at work I can do to improve a machine, and I’ll say to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?” The next morning I’ll go into work and fix what had kept me up the night before. And maybe it’s something small that nobody notices, but it gives me satisfaction to know I made something better.