Sunday, June 12, 2016

COLO Week 2 - Administration

This is my collection of documents and information after just one week in administration

For my second week at Colonial National Historical Park I made the rounds through the various staff here who have administrative duties. Most of my time was spent in the administrative headquarters at Yorktown but I also spent time at the maintenance administrative offices in the maintenance yard. I can't even begin to describe the vast amount of information I took in this week. I was constantly flooded with knowledge pertaining to anything that goes on "behind the scenes" or through the various computer programs that keep this park running. I ended this week with an enhanced knowledge of what really goes into making sure COLO is operating at full capacity and I'm 100% sure this newfound knowledge will greatly improve my ability to carry out my duties as a NPS employee.

I began the week meeting with the Chief of Maintenance and acting Deputy Superintendent Jim Brown. I sat in on a morning meeting discussing the goals for the week and then we took a ride to Jamestown to meet with a contractor bidding for a HVAC replacement. During the drive to Jamestown and back Mr. Brown gave me a timeline of the various maintenance request programs the park has used and showed me some of the current maintenance projects and areas that are in need of maintenance. After returning to Yorktown I then met with Chief of Administration Cheryl Green. We sat down for the afternoon discussing some of the basics of administration and what all I'd be learning and experiencing throughout the week.

Me on a ladder trying to usher the hummingbird out the door
On Tuesday I spent the morning learning about property and acquisitions with the maintenance administrators and began becoming familiar with some of the systems the NPS uses such as FMSS (Facility Management Software System), FBMS (Financial and Business Management System), and PMIS (Project Management Information System). I was also given a 12 page list of acronyms as my welcome gift to the Federal Government. Then to end my morning I partook in a rescue operation to retrieve a hummingbird that had gotten itself stuck in the nearby fire cache. That afternoon I shadowed COLO's sole IT technician and learned the ever so valuable lesson of patience. We were tasked with updating the operating system and installing more memory on dispatch's server which was going very smoothly until we had backup the contents of the server to make sure nothing was lost during the update. This process ended up taking around 2 hours and finished just as it was time to head home.

This is where artifacts dug up during archaeological
digs at Jamestown are stored
Wednesday I spent a full day with COLO's budget and deposits coordinator and was quite honestly in over my head for the majority of it. Without any prior knowledge of accounting or really anything business related I did my best to keep up with the wealth of knowledge being given to me and I can say I do have a much better understanding of the flow of money throughout the park and the work that goes into keeping the park within its budget. Thursday was spent with COLO's Volunteer-in-Parks coordinator and Centennial Coordinator. I quickly learned what a huge role volunteers play in the everyday activities of the park and just how valuable their services are. I even managed to score an invite to the volunteer recognition dinner next week.

To finish up the week I sat down with COLO's administrative support assistant who really operates as a human resources coordinator. We went over everything from recruitment to retirement and I received a lot of information that will invaluable to me as an employee. That afternoon I met COLO's acting Superintendent Jennifer Madello at the Historic Jamestown Rediscovery Center and was given a tour of the artifact storage there. Overall, it was a very successful week in which I learned quite a bit about what goes into keeping a park running. Next week I'll be joining our maintenance crew as I take a more hands-on approach to keeping COLO operating at full capacity.

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