Longtime County Employee Honored On Retirement

Barb Hentz 2

July 19, 2017

 Longtime County Employee Honored On Retirement 

EDWARDSVILLE — The Madison County Board Wednesday night honored a longtime employee who retired last month. 

Barb (Loyet) Hentz, a programming supervisor in the county’s IT Department, retired June 30 and Chairman Kurt Prenzler recognized her for 35 years of service with the county. 

Hentz started working for the county in 1982 in the Data Processing Department. Prior to coming to work for the county Hentz worked for First National Bank in downtown St. Louis. She worked in the bank’s collection department doing encoding and reconciliation work and became familiar with computer programming. 

Hentz, who grew up in Troy, said not long after she met her husband, Jim Hentz, who lived in Edwardsville, she learned about a job opening in the data processing department through friends Janette and Jack Minner. 

“Janette worked for the county and told me about it,” Hentz said. “I was excited because it was close to home and Jim and I were getting married.”

Hentz applied and when she went to her interview with the department’s director, Pat Morrison, she quickly found out they both worked at the same bank branch. She worked under Morrison for 30 years. 

The first office space she worked in was in the basement of a building on Hillsboro Street. She said after a few years the Data Processing Department changed its name to Information Systems and the offices moved into the space where Community Development is now located at 130 Hillsboro Ave. 

“We were in that building until the new Administration Building opened in 1992, Hentz said. “We were the first department to move in and helped each office set up their computer and telephone systems as they moved in.” 

While the public may not know most people who work in the IT Department, the majority of county employees do. 

“I’ve worked with every department in the county,” she said. 

Hentz was instrumental in several projects in the county — automating the county’s payroll system, automating the budget and accounting system and converting key punch cards to a data entry system. 

“We input employee information, criminal justice and courts information and voter registration information into a new software system,” she said. “It was a tedious process compared with how things are done today.” 

In working with the company that provided the data entry software, Key Master, Hentz was asked to serve on the company’s president’s counsel and gave presentation at conferences. 

“It was an honor to be asked and rewarding to be able to present information to my peers,” she said. 

Hentz said she enjoyed the challenges of working on big projects and took pride in her work. 

During her more than three decades with the county, Hentz worked with many elected officials. She was hired during Chairman Nelson “Nellie” Haugnauer’s administration and served under chairman Rudy Papa and Alan Dunstan. 

She also worked with the late Evelyn Bowles, the County Clerk who went on to become an Illinois state senator. 

“I helped Evelyn redesign the voter registration card in the early 1990s so people could carry it in their wallet,” she said. 

Other officials she worked with include U.S. Rep. John Shimkus when he served as county treasurer; State Senator William Haine, State’s Attorney; and an array of county elected office holders. 

 “There were many of us who started around the same time and I’ve made a lot of friends through the years,” Hentz said. “Work was my home away from home. My second family.” 

Hentz said now that she’s retired she plans to spend time with Jim and their two children, Rob, 33, and Brooke, 27, along with her 2-year-old granddaughter, Lucklin.