Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's Business, It's Business Time

Last week I was back in action with the business management team, and it was a pretty good week to be with them because I got out of the office a few times.  Some pretty exciting stuff happened.  On Monday I helped Chad and Bette Anne perform the park's very first donation box audit, a new policy being implemented across the agency.  I was given the honor of using this skeleton key to access an undisclosed visitor center housing this mule themed donation box.  Unfortunately, the park has a few things they have to take care of in order to comply with the new policy, but hey, that was what the audit was for.

The moment you have all been waiting for happened this week during that donation box audit.  I finally made it down to Georgetown, mile zero of the canal.  I have officially been from one end to the other of this 184.5 mile long linear park.  And this is what it looked like.  Well not all of it.  But there is a great deal of construction going on in Georgetown right now as the park moves forward with its plans to revitalize the Georgetown section of the canal, reopening the visitor center and once again offering mule pulled boat rides.  Pictured here is one of the locks torn down and getting ready to be rebuilt.

 I hadn't been to Washington D.C. in many years, so it was nice to swing by for the day.  It also felt good to finally reach that eastern terminus of the canal and the Potomac into the Chesapeake bay.

Mile Zero mile marker

 On Tuesday I spent the day with Ben, the parks partnership liaison. I had of course been hearing about the parks several partner organizations throughout the whole summer, but it was interesting to hear from Ben how those relationships and the expectations of each side are managed.  I got to sit down with Robin Zanotti, president of the C&O Canal Trust, whose offices are actually located within the park's headquarters.  She gave me some background about the Trust and why it was created, and told me about some of the work they do and events they hold to fundraise for the Canal.

Later in the day, I went to the town of Williamsport with Ben, where we met District Interpretive Ranger, Matt Graves and Town Clerk, Donnie Stotelmyer.  We knocked on doors and handed out information regarding the towpath bypass that is going into effect while construction is being done on the Conococheague aqueduct.  The bypass reroutes the towpath down one residential block and around the backs of some houses, and we wanted to make sure the residents of Williamsport were not caught off guard by all of the hikers and bikers suddenly making their way around their homes.

Wednesday I was back in the office with Blyth, taking care of some purchase request paperwork.  I did some filing, harkening me back to my days in the Temple Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee office.  We did some reorganization of the mailroom as well, another one of Blyth's many hats.  I used some down time to catch up on some paperwork of my own, collecting signatures in my task book I had been too busy to acquire from previous weeks.

On Thursday I was at Great Falls Tavern with Chad and John, taking care of some property stuff and getting an introduction to the IT features of the park.  While John is the park's IT specialist, he also doubles as quite the handyman.  Here you can see him installing some floodlights with motion sensors.  Chad made the rounds in this park housing building, checking out the smoke detectors and whatever else he has there on that clipboard of his.

IT Closet/Server room

Computers and digital technology in general is definitely not my area of expertise and most of what John told me went over my head, but I think I managed to hold onto a piece of information or two.  Despite him telling me that he was entirely self taught and that it really wasn't that hard, I think I will continue to leave that kind of thing to my savvier park pals.

On Friday I helped Chad move some decommissioned printing equipment from headquarters to the Williamsport maintenance shop, and we talked about how the various kinds of property the agency owns is organized and disposed of.  We also oversaw the transfer of one of the parks Zodiac boats to someone who had purchased it on GSA auctions.  By the way, you guys should check that out, you can buy just about anything on there, vehicles, real estate, furniture, heavy machinery, you name it.  And for decent prices too.  There is a pretty sweet lighthouse in the Chesapeake bay up for sale right now.

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