By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff
The 81623 zip code has a new postmaster — and his door is always open.
Well, except when The Sopris Sun and KDNK sat down with him to find out a bit about his background and philosophy. Soft spoken and polite, Reza Tehrani ushered us past the folks waiting to buy stamps and into his simple office just off the public area.
He explained that he came to the United States from Iran as a teenager in 1987.
“At that point, back in my country there was a war going on and it was not a comfortable situation,” he said. “It was kind of dictated to me.”
He ended up in management at a Denver company that made inflators for airbags. In 2004, however, it was bought out and the location was closed.
“Most of us decided to look for new careers, and the Postal Service came up,” he said.
He ended up getting a job as a clerk in Aspen, and eventually began to work his way up in the organization using his management background and some encouragement from an existing postmaster. He served in various roles in Glenwood, Old Snowmass and Carbondale before being officially sworn in as the head honcho in Carbondale.
He’ll be commuting against the traffic rather than uproot his wife of 17 years and their two daughters — 10 and 13 — from Aspen.
As for what the job actually entails, he’s glad to elaborate.
“Other than overseeing the operation of the post office, we try to connect with and educate customers and our team members,” he said. “The most important goal of the post office is to provide the best service we possibly can.”
It’s a role he takes seriously and with a fair amount of pride. The USPS, he observed, is self funded and supplies a type of mail service quite different from its competition.
“People grow up with the United States Postal Service. Everybody looks for the mail on a daily basis,” he said. “You get packages, you send letters and postcards — these things bring people together.”
There are also a lot of services folks may not be aware of or fully understand, like post office boxes and forwarding.
“We are hoping that people bring their questions and concerns to us,” he said.
He had some answers for our questions, at least.
Does the fact that regional mail all goes through Grand Junction mean a later delivery time? Tehrani wasn’t part of that decision — which was made several years ago — but he suspects it probably has an impact. What about the rumors of nixing Saturday delivery that floated around a few months back?
“At this point, it’s a non-issue,” he said. “As far as the information I get… we will deliver the mail six days a week.”
What kind of challenges does the rural setting have, particularly where Marble and Redstone are concerned? It turns out those routes are done by contractors, and it’s mostly a matter of getting them up to speed.
“This office had two of the best contractors who knew those routes inside and out,” he explained. “We recently got new contractors, and they’re getting familiar with it and doing a better job every day.”
Generally, he plans to use a light touch with mostly behind-the-scenes changes and some extra training. It helps that he’s already blessed with a friendly and competent staff.
“We do have exceptional people working for us here,” he said.