Edmonds Community College worker is oldest full-time employee in the state

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Paul Poppe
Paul Poppe (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Community College)

Paul Poppe, Edmonds Community College’s Contract/Risk Management Specialist, is 85 years old, which makes him the oldest full-time employee in the state of Washington.

Poppe has been employed at Edmonds Community College for 23 years. He currently works in the Purchasing Department to support the college’s contracting activities and making sure that the college is in compliance with state regulations.

Poppe has worked at Edmonds for so long because, “I enjoy the work and the people. It is a very nice climate to work in with first class co-workers,” Poppe said.

“He is reliable and a very valuable employee,” said Marian Paananen, Edmonds Community College Director of Finance. “He is an asset to the college and we are glad he is here.”

Why does he work at the age of 85? “Everyone is my family has worked — you contribute until you can’t contribute anymore,” Poppe said. “I feel healthy and I need to continue to work to support my own needs.”

Poppe has been in the Purchasing department since 1997. Prior to Edmonds Community College, he held employment at the Applied Technology Training Center, Ardex Group, Hach Company and Bourns, Inc.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green University in 1952. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954, as a forward observer in the Korean War for the artillery division.

Poppe went back to school in 1957 to earn his Bachelor of Science in general science from Iowa State University.

“It started out as a joke between myself and my co-workers that I was probably the oldest so we decided to request the records,” Poppe said. Initially when the joke began he was not the oldest, but in time, he finally took that title.

“I always told my family I would retire when I became the oldest, but I’m still not ready.”

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