9.05.2011

Update from the Boss! - New Year, New Team!

Two posts in one week is a bit much, I know, especially since the Anniversary one was a book (this one didn't turn out to be much shorter...oops). We have a lot of stuff going on now, here at PNOLA, so sit down and pay attention!

Our new staff officially all start on Sept. 7th with a full orientation schedule on the agenda for the remainder of this week and then jumping head first into the business at hand on Monday. With as many new staff as we have, obviously things here are crazy and exciting all at once. The general consensus is that we are on the brink of an amazing year where we will out pace the great work we have already done to date. I will always be proud of what we do as long as we stick to our mission, even if we only help a few families, but the prospect of helping many more than we ever have in a years time has me, in a word, psyched!

So our team now consists of 21 strong, with 5 'nautically themed' vehicles in supporting roles. Each of them will be introducing themselves (not the cars, they can't type) on this blog in the coming weeks (we won't overload the 12 of you who actually read this all at once, don't worry) and I hope they will each provide a unique insight. Each of them already has experience in rebuilding and/or non-profits but are all new to how we do things here and I hope very much that we can provide an awesome work environment that empowers them to do what they do best.

Thanks to all former staff who got us here and our new/current staff who will keep our effort going. Without y'all, we would have helped zero families using zero volunteers. Shout out to the newbies:

Project Managers:
Heidi, Justine, Kirt, Phoenix will each be assigned a number of projects at any given time and will be responsible for working with our material vendors, sub-contractors, and site managers to maintain workflow on the job while staying in budget. They each have over a year of hands on experience rebuilding in New Orleans. Heidi and Phoenix have been with us since the Spring, but we were fortunate enough to be able to keep them both on as permanent staff starting last month. Jessie will be assisting each project manager with the massive amount of paperwork and records that each job will surely produce. She joins us after a tour with NCCC (and looks extremely similar to one of our other new staff ;)

Site Managers:
Christian, John, Katherine, Bridget, Gil, Ian, Devon will each be assigned a project where they will work each day performing the skill intensive tasks necessary to move the project forward and/or training and supervising volunteers so that they may be safe and productive workers. All but Gil have a year of direct hands on service here in New Orleans and Gil is one of our former NCCC members who came back for more! Rob will also be working on site with us as a house starter and punch list extraordinaire so we can get started on work quicker and get the family back in faster once we are on the home stretch.

Office Staff:
Andrea will be providing outreach to our supporters to ensure they are up to date on all that we are accomplishing and working with our upcoming volunteer groups to coordinate their trips. Sarah will work with our clients to help them through our application process and remain a point of contact for them along the way while we work on their home. Will is not new, but he returns in a different role, working with Andrea and myself to ensure our data is accurate and then put it to use in the best possible way to show all of you how many people we are helping. Aiyisha helps us keep it all together by assisting our administrative functions.

And, since we pretty much covered everyone anyway...

Jim MacQueen continues his role as Director of Operations, overseeing all of our construction day to day. Since March he has brought amazing capacity to PNOLA and has already worked with a number of our new folks, so we have a built in team atmosphere already.

Denise has been promoted and will take on further challenges as our Programs Manager, working with her foundation of 2 years as an integral part of our administrative functions.

and I'm still here. With all of the new help, I look forward to pursuing tasks that we have unfortunately not had the capacity to work on for many years. We have already received a $25,000 grant from Entergy and were invited to submit a full proposal for $50,000 to the Foundation for Louisiana just based on the grant work I have been able to do since Jim M. started. I am confident that additional opportunities for us to further assist our families will arise as quickly as I can send grant requests out. Afterall, we didn't hire all of these new folks for nothing! My job is to connect their hard work to as many families in need as possible, and as a team we are up to the task.

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