Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Old Folks at Home Work

I spend five days a week in an office in downtown Dover, working for the people of the state of Delaware and with some truly nice folks. I generally don't write about my job here; but now I want to make an exception. Instead of leaving cards on co-worker's desks this Christmas, I want to share some thoughts about those co-workers.

Connie Holland, the State Planning Coordinator, is my boss. Connie brought a determined "nice" to our office eight years ago when Gov. Minner appointed her to the job. We'd known Connie for many years as the Planning Director for Kent County. Her extensive experience in county government was a great help. Connie reminds us every day that whatever the issue or beef, we're all just folks. And Connie likes folks. It's catching.

Dorothy Morris joined the office shortly before I did more than ten years ago. Technically, she was an administrative staffer, but she's always been more than that. Dorothy is one of those "hold the whole thing together" types. She knows how to manage things and brings that knowledge to an office or a home. As a result, she has risen to the position of Planner and has taken on management of the PLUS process. She has taught herself to use GIS, taking over much of the technical work I had been doing and freeing me up to try other new things. One of the great joys of my professional life has been gossiping about everything from world events to raising teenagers with Dorothy.

When Dorothy and I arrived we found Herb Inden there before us. He was there when the Office of State Planning Coordination was re-created, helping Dave Hugg pull the thing together. Herb worked in City Planning in Wilmington and adds an urban view to things. He's like an older brother; funny, warm and a voice of experience.

Bryan Hall is our newest staff member. Bryan is a former forester who now works with county and municipal governments in Sussex. Bryan is a breath of pine-fresh air. He's a brusque, out-doorsy type who cuts right to the heart of matters and greets almost all challenges with a laugh. He's a little goofy, which I like.

Diane Dukes I have known longer than I've worked in the planning office. She starred in a Possum Point Players production of Wait Until Dark that I had a part in back in 1988. Then she worked at DNREC for a while when I was there. Then one day, she came to help us out with graphics and publications. Diane is good, I've learned a lot from her about making things readable and visually interesting. And we share an appreciation for what's twisted about the world around us.

Laura Simmons is also a recent(ish) addition to our office. She brings an understanding of politics and the people of Delaware government and has taught me how to start to see beyond the surface of what's happening. She has also jumped-in to learn GIS and take on some of the tasks I had been covering. In fact, she insists on learning new things. I respect that. And Laura has become my good friend. We share stories of our kids and our parenting challenges. And she and Dorothy are my sounding board for ideas for gifts for the Lovely Karen.

I've saved David Edgell for last. I wanted to book-end this list with Connie, who leads us, and Dave, who will be a leader some day. I tease him (it annoys him) that he'll be Governor some day. Dave doesn't seem to want the job, but I'd trust him with it. He is smart, steady, and mature beyond his years. And he has a sense of humor. I love to bounce ideas back and forth with David. His training and experience are very different from, but somehow complimentary to mine. I'm going to enjoy watching his career; I hope to stay near him.

These are some of the the people I spend my days with. They are my work family; the people I come back to after visiting friends and colleagues at many other agencies. I'm blessed to have gotten to know federal, state, county and local government people from all over. My work life is fascinating and wide ranging. I'm glad to have Connie, Dorothy, Herb, Bryan, Diane, Laura, and David to ground me.

1 comment:

Diane D. said...

What a nice and novel way to send holiday greetings! We appreciate Mike too. I especially love the excellent photography of Delaware locations he contributes to the office. As a graphics person, I'm constantly looking for quality shots of the First State. We also marvel at how Mike lends his "I Am A Camera" sensibility to his reports on the world around him.

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