People Profile: Administrative officer brings ‘service’ to the Service

Andria Grafflin picked up valuable lessons on her journey to the Service

a woman squatting down looking at a goose.

Administrative officer Andria Grafflin makes a new friend in a park near the San Francisco Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office in Sacramento, where she has worked since 2016. Credit: David Kimbrell/USFWS


By David Kimbrell, administrative assistant, Bay-Delta FWO
October 19, 2021

It’s 2012, and after moving from Utah back to the sunny state of California, Andria Grafflin was ready to return to the workforce. Her children were getting older and she felt the time was right.

a woman posing with her three sons for a photo.

Continuing a family tradition of coordinating PJs on Christmas Eve, Andria Grafflin shares the 2019 holiday with sons Coby, now 18, Logan, 15 and Linkin, 12. Credit: Photo courtesy of the Grafflin family

What began as “just a job,” at a home furnishing retail store turned into an experience that has had a lasting impact on the way Grafflin approaches customer service in her current position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Working in a retail store taught me what true customer service is and the value it brings to the organization,” said Grafflin, administrative officer for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Office. “At Bay-Delta, the biologists and other employees are our customers, and it is just as important to be polite, follow through and ensure a pleasant experience.

“I love working with the biologists and helping with the impact we make on nature. The least I can do is support the administrative needs of the office.”

That spirit shows in Grafflin’s work and the positive impact she has on the office and her co-workers.

“Andria treats everyone she encounters with kindness and respect,” said fish and wildlife biologist Leanna Zweig. “We work on some challenging, marathon projects at Bay-Delta, and her support makes the work easier and less stressful.”

Mastering the art

Grafflin grew up in Humboldt County on the northern coast of California and joined the U.S. Army right out of high school. During her five years as an active-duty soldier, Grafflin served as an air traffic controller in South Korea from 1999 to 2001, then at Fort Rucker, Alabama, from 2001 to 2003.

a woman in an ugly christmas sweater.

Administrative officer Andria Grafflin shows some of the team spirit she brings to the San Francisco Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office, winning the office’s 2019 Ugly Sweater Contest. “She has a strong drive to get things done, but she also brings joy to the office,” said Service biologist Leanna Zweig. “At the end of a long day, she is the kind of person you want on your team.” Credit: USFWS

At the end of 2003, Grafflin moved to Utah with her family and newborn son Coby. During the eight years she lived there, Grafflin had two more sons, Logan and Linkin, and raised all three while attending classes at Park University.

Her time as an air traffic controller required a great deal of training, followed by years of experience in a notoriously stressful job. Mastering the art of remaining composed and professional is something Grafflin is proud of, and she strives to carry this quality with her throughout her life.

“Remaining calm in stressful situations has come in handy both in the workplace and my personal life — especially raising my three boys,” said Grafflin.

In 2011, Grafflin completed her bachelor’s degree in logistics management, which is the flow of goods, services and information in a supply chain.

“We all do logistics every day in our personal lives and at work, planning movements and tasks,” Grafflin said. “My education has helped me apply logistics concepts to the office environment. My favorite part is process improvement.”

Grafflin left the private sector in 2015 and accepted a job with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, cleaning operating rooms between surgeries at the Sacramento Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Although the job was a means for her to return to federal service, Grafflin came to enjoy being in a world few people get to see. She took great pride in being part of an organization that improved the lives of her fellow veterans.

Ideal teammate

In May 2016, Grafflin joined the Bay-Delta office and took the Administration Division by storm. Starting as an office assistant, she was selected less than three years later as the Freedom of Information Act officer.

A woman standing behind a tree posing for a photo

Andria Grafflin brings a customer-service approach to her role as administrative officer for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office. “I love working with the biologists and helping with the impact we make on nature,” she said. “At Fish and Wildlife, the biologists and other employees are our customers, and it is just as important to be polite, follow through and ensure a pleasant experience.” Credit: David Kimbrell/USFWS

While still helping support the office assistant workload and excelling in her new job as FOIA officer, Grafflin also rotated in as acting administrative officer when that position was vacated in 2019. Grafflin applied for the job and was selected, being rated as the best qualified candidate. All of this occurred in less than four years after she joined the office.

“I knew Andria was the right choice as the AO because she showed initiative and proved she could handle the job while serving in the acting role,” said deputy field supervisor Dan Welsh. “She had also done excellent work as an office assistant and FOIA officer.”

When Grafflin first joined the Bay-Delta office, there wasn’t much of an internal career ladder that would allow administrative professionals to promote within the office. Grafflin discussed the situation with her managers and worked with them to create changes that enabled her career growth within the Administrative Division. She considers it her biggest success.

“The Bay-Delta office has grown a lot in size and complexity since I arrived in 2015,” Welsh said, “and it was clear the size and grade structure of the administrative team needed to grow along with the office. I was happy to work with Andria to restructure positions to create more mobility and increase retention.”

Retaining employees like Grafflin was a priority and for good reason. Employees say Bay-Delta stands out as a great place to work, and Grafflin is the type of person who fosters its warm and welcoming atmosphere.

“Andria has a strong drive to get things done, but she also brings joy to the office,” Zweig said. “At the end of a long day, she is the kind of person you want on your team.”