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Winnie Todd
If you are one of Irvine’s earliest residents or businesses, we want to hear your story. Send us an e-mail to insideirvine@cityofirvine.org in which you “Tell Your Own Irvine Story.” Throughout 2011 we will post some of these compelling stories on this page.
 

Q&A: Winnie Todd - "The Voice of the City"

 

 Winnie Todd

As part of the City’s yearlong 40th Anniversary Celebration, a long-time Irvine resident will be featured with an Irvine story. For the month of October, long-time City resident and City of Irvine employee, Winnie Todd, will share her Irvine story.

Winnie Todd and husband Neil moved to Irvine in February, 1981 one month after they were married.  Winnie and Neil felt fortunate to move into a “Park Vista Condominium” in Woodbridge.  During their engagement, Neil’s name was drawn in an affordable housing lottery (held in the gym at Irvine High School), so they were able to purchase a two bedroom condo.  The variable home interest rates were very high at that time.   Neil, Winnie, and their daughter Kelly, (along with two dogs Skippy and Bella) now live in Northwood. The Todd family has lived in the same house for the past 25 years.

Q: When did you start working for the City, and in what capacity?

A: When our daughter, Kelly, was 5 months old (March, 1995), I was hired by the Community Services Department as a Community Services Leader at the Front Counter. I worked in the Class Registration (now known as Program Registration) and Facility Reservations Divisions. Eventually a part-time opening in the City Clerk’s Office of Records and Information became available, and I applied.  The main focus of that position was to be the break and lunch relief for the City Hall Main Reception Desk. After 10 years as a part-time employee, I was hired as a full-time employee, and continued to work as a Senior Office Specialist at the Main Reception Desk. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about being the “voice” of the Irvine Civic Center?

A: I am not certain if I am “the voice” – but I enjoy the challenges each day brings. I have gotten to recognize a lot of “voices” of our frequent callers while answering the City Hall Main telephone lines.  There is one lady who calls me almost daily with all sorts of questions and she is always so sweet.  One of these days I just may ask her to please come to City Hall so I can meet her in person!

Q: What do you like best about living in Irvine?

A: Irvine has so much to offer.  Irvine is the “heart” of Orange County and is conveniently and centrally located to many attractions and venues (the beach, Angel Stadium, Honda Center, Disneyland, etc.) It has been the greatest place ever to live, and raise our daughter, Kelly.  When she was young we participated in many City programs and events like “The Great Egg Hunt” and the fabulous “Learn to Swim” classes offered by Community Services. We have also enjoyed the “Pet Trek” event with our dogs too. Kelly also participated in the “Leaders in Training” and recently went on a San Diego “College Tour” led by the High School Youth Action Team Program.

We also have enjoyed volunteering at the Irvine Holiday Faire, the Irvine Senior Center Saturday Dances, and we recently helped at the Irvine Disabilities “Disco Dance.”  These events have made me truly appreciate the work my fellow City employees do!

Finally, the Irvine Unified School District is fabulous.  We have been so blessed to live in this City with such great schools.  Kelly is a junior at Northwood High School now and the teachers are incredible.

Q: What are the biggest changes you have seen in your 30 years as a City resident?

A: The biggest change is the development of the City, including the additional housing villages, the increased development of Irvine Valley College and UC Irvine, the addition of the “Venta Spur Trail” (in our neighborhood), and of course, the closing of the MCAS El Toro.   We used to see many military planes fly over our house in Northwood including the military planes used in the filming of the movie “Pearl Harbor.”  We could see the pilots faces that day! 

Our Woodbridge condo overlooked Culver and on the other side of Culver was all vacant land (Westpark today).  We could watch military helicopters fly from the Tustin Marine Helicopter Base.

Q: Do you see any similarities between Irvine today and Irvine 1981?

A: The consistency of the well-developed “Villages” of Irvine. The shopping centers and wonderful parks (such as Bill Barber, Woodbury, Sweet Shade) have been built and developed with great vision, thought, and with “care.”  Another thing which has not changed since 1981 is safety. We have always felt very safe living in Irvine and still walk our dogs late at night. We have personally used Public Safety Services throughout the years, and what a great Police Department we have! We are very fortunate, indeed.

Q: As a longtime resident and City employee, what does the City’s 40th Anniversary mean to you?

A: I think it is truly amazing to have lived in this City for over 30 years and witnessed the growth and change. For those of us who work for the City, we have truly witnessed the growth first-hand.  We have been involved in the changes and improvement of City Services over the years.  We have witnessed the changes having “PCs” has brought! Look at how our communications between City employees and between residents and the City has improved!  I am so thankful to be a “witness” to this 40th Anniversary.  I truly am!

Q: Any final thoughts for us

A: The first day I walked into Irvine City Hall was the day I applied for the Community Services Leader job position. When I walked into the front doors, I thought to myself, “Wow what a beautiful and incredible building!”

Now, over 16 years later, I have MANY first time visitors who walk into City Hall and say this very same thing to me.  

I truly am so lucky to be working for our great City of Irvine and to be working in such a beautiful and incredible building.  Thank you, City of Irvine!

Are you a multi-generational Irvine resident? Tell us your story by writing to insideirvine@cityofirvine.org.


Past Profiles

Jean Aldrich
Mary Ann Gaido
Homer Guimond
The Russell and Peggy Frank Family
Debbie Brunn
Victoria Jimenez
Tina Williams
Sean Joyce
Larry Larsen
Wendy Shields
Larry LeVoir
Lon Hall