Author Topic: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion  (Read 347703 times)

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Offline modab

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2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« on: September 12, 2008, 09:27:19 pm »
This  thread is for discussion about the Director of Operations position for Kumoricon 2009.

Here is a list of people who have accepted the nomination for the Director of Operations
Kenton Cook
Megan "Hawkeye" Duncan
Beau "Big Guy" Gentry
Valerie "Vallie" Munkres
Jess Shelton
Robert Trotter

The most current list of all nominations for all elected positions is here: http://www.kumoricon.org/forums/index.php?topic=7900.0

You may ask questions for them to answer in this post, and if you know them please encourage them to reply, especially since so many people have accepted nominations. Remember to be civil. You may also use this thread to discuss the responsibilities of this position for 2009, especially ones you think should be added, modified, or removed.

Here is the job description for the Director of Operations, as written by our current director:
The Operations Department encompasses the service industry of the convention.  Traditionally this includes such departments as Registrations, both at Con and pre-Con mail-outs, Volunteer Coordination services, Information services, onsite Tech maintence services, Yojimbo and Nursing services, and Con Suite.  Some services can vary from year to year but typically Operations is doing the best job when people don't notice it is working.  The Operations Director must have a working knowledge of each sub-department and be able to enter any of them, as well as coordinate with the staff so they are operating at all times with the same information.  The Ops director must be able to plan ahead for every detail but also be capable of dealing with rapidly changing situations.  Good communications skills with the staff can be vital and a cool head is required as the Director of Operations can be dealing with the most stressful situations of the actual convention.

Please note, this is a rough draft of the position description, but I felt it should go out now and be formatted to be compatible with the other positions later.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2008, 12:08:43 pm by staze »
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Offline staze

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2008, 10:36:00 pm »
All,

While I know there is going to be some discussion along these lines, I'd like to ask that this thread stay un-contentious to previous year's holders of this or other positions. The main topic that I know is going to come up is Tech. The fate, location, etc of Tech is something that will need to be addressed between those parties who have stakes, and ultimately, the board. So please, no "Tech has been controlled by Programming and Operations in the past, how will you make sure that you are in control of it this year?"

It's just a whole can of worms that's going to lead to nothing but strife. Instead, maybe a question like "How will you try to make sure Tech continues to evolve and make sure it is used most efficiently before and during the con?"

Thanks!
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Offline staze

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2008, 10:38:00 pm »
To start, I'd like to ask that every accepted candidate introduce themselves, and tell us all a bit about yourself. Previous experience is a plus, but ultimately, we're just trying to get to know the candidates.

Thanks!
-Staze
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Offline Dealrith

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2008, 10:54:19 pm »
I guess I'll start off.

My name is Robert Trotter if you haven't guessed. I've been staff for the con 2 years now and have been a regular Yojimbo for the first year and a Yojimbo floor manager for the second. I have attended every Kumoricon except for one due to family matters. That's pretty much it for my convention background.

I have been apart of a Boy Scouts Venture crew now for about 5 years and a President for the groups for 2 years. Through the group I've picked up leadership skills directing youth through different merit badges and high adventure activities from rock climbing to white water rafting. I am also a brown belt in Tae Kwan Doe which I have been studying for over a year now.

I just recently turned 21.

Since this is my first time running for something of this caliper I'm not all familiar with any other information that would be helpful but I'm open for any questions.
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2008, 11:41:26 pm »
Second :D

I'm Jaki Hunt, and I was the Programming Director for 2008.

I've been involved with Kumoricon since '04, where I volunteered (mainly watching viewing rooms, tho I did some security).  I have been Programming staff ever since.

Mainly, I like to be involved in the action of con... my preference is to be on the floor, interacting with attendees and staff over being stuck in a room all day.  I want to do what I can to make sure that people are enjoying themselves, not sweating the small stuff... what makes the long hours we work at con worth it is seeing the attendees having fun ;)
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2008, 12:58:27 am »
Hi everyone!  I'm Valerie Munkres and most of you know me as Vallie.  I'm 28 years old, and I live in Beaverton.  Just this past April, I was married to Tom Munkres aka Tomthefanboy aka Pocky Club guy.  I grew up in Michigan and moved out here to the west Portland burbs in 2002.

I currently work for an Electric Utility, providing customer service via telephone and email.  I have been working for this company for one year and three months, but have been working as customer service representative for 10 years, both over the phone and in face to face interactions. 

I've been involved with Kumoricon since 2004.  In 2004 and 2005, I volunteered for the convention.  2006, I signed up for staff as a Programming grunt under Brenda, but was loaned out to Operations to work with Registration and Info desk.  2007, I staffed for Operations under Brownie and was Registration Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.  2008, I signed up as Assistant Volunteer Coordinator under Shelton, and ran Info Desk during the convention. 

I'm running for both 2009 Con Chair and Operations Director, and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

P.S. To be in keeping with the let's not talk about tech, when the powers that be officially merge this thread with the previous one, if you'd like to just remove my answer to the tech question outright, go ahead.  If not, I'll go ahead and remove it after it's merged since I can't do it while that other thread is locked.  :)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 10:47:39 am by valliegirl »
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Offline staze

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2008, 01:12:00 am »

P.S. To be in keeping with the let's not talk about tech, when the powers that be officially merge this thread with the previous one, if you'd like to just remove my answer to the tech question outright, go ahead.  If not, I'll go ahead and remove it after it's merged since I can't do it while that other thread is locked.  :)

Vallie,

Will do. Probably have you delete it rather than myself. We're (I) am having a bit of an issue with the merge feature at the moment... I have Jeff looking into it. Doesn't want to merge, and if it does, it might put you and Tom's post above Peter's, so, well see.

Thanks!
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Offline rictheron

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2008, 01:34:02 am »
 My name is Jess Shelton.  While at this moment my name isn't currently updated on the list I was nominated and seconded in the staff elections thread earlier this week.

  I am the incumbant Director of Operations, having taken over the post for the 2008 year.  I have been working with the convention since its first year, when I unofficially joined the then 'security' group.  In 2005 I was appointed the head of the new Yojimbo which I helped completely rebuild and retrain from the group up. For the next three years I helped run the Yojimbo, spending 2007 as the Assistant Operations Director in addition to my duties as Yojimbo manager.  I have always had as my primary concern the safety, well being, and happiness of our staff and attendees. 

  Outside of the convention I work primarily as a licensed security guard working at Salem Memorial Hospital, a position I have held for a year, though my private security work goes well beyond that.  I have also worked as an Assistant Scuba Instructor where I have helped teach a dozen classes at university.  I am also licensed in Search & Rescue  and am currently working on AED and Oxygen provider certifications.

  I have many plans for the 2009 year, having used the experience of 2008 as a base line, to provide better, quicker service to staff and attendees as well as improving Reg through redundant system setups, a pro-active volunteer system to both make their actions more noticeable and to attract more people into volunteer and staff work, and the re-integration of various sub departments.
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Offline modab

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2008, 08:42:01 am »
Thanks for the heads up Jess. I have updated this thread to reflect your information.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 08:42:23 am by modab »
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Offline Rathany

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2008, 10:09:05 am »
Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?  Do you foresee any conflict of interest or possibly having to short one con to properly serve another. 

(FYI - I was originally involved in planning Go Congress, but had to drop out of that due to my Kcon time commitments.)

Vallie already answered this in the Con Chair thread.
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Offline staze

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2008, 11:13:11 am »
My name is Jess Shelton.  While at this moment my name isn't currently updated on the list I was nominated and seconded in the staff elections thread earlier this week.

Jess,

Sorry about that. Somehow I completely missed the hawkeye nom and kylite's second. *shrugs* fixed now.
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2008, 11:28:03 am »
Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?  Do you foresee any conflict of interest or possibly having to short one con to properly serve another. 

Nope.  Kumoricon is the only convention that I am in involved in the running/planning of.  All other conventions are play :)
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2008, 11:34:38 am »
To start, I'd like to ask that every accepted candidate introduce themselves, and tell us all a bit about yourself. Previous experience is a plus, but ultimately, we're just trying to get to know the candidates.

Thanks!
For all those of you out there, my name is Megean Duncan.  I've been working with Kumoricon since 2005 when I came to my very first meeting and joined up as staff right then and there.  I've served mostly as a yojimbo, but I've also spent the last three years helping conduct training sessions, including this most recent con when I've served as 2008 Yojimbo Assistant Manager.  I also served for a time in 2006 as Industry Manager, and I helped behind the scenes with Registration that same year.  My concerns for the convention always have been and always will be ensuring the con attendees' safety and well being, as well as providing the best possible experience they can have.

When I'm not at the convention, I have my primary interest of working with animals, I've volunteered at local animal shelters, I do part time work with a local Saturday Market.  I am also actively searching for a job as a veterinary receptionist/assistant, but I do not plan on letting my job prevent me from doing my duties should I be chosen.

I have active plans laid out which I will share in greater detail once I get my notes together that will help improve communications between Ops sub-departments, other departments, with the board, and with attendees in general.  I also plan to streamline Registration in order to eliminate a lot of the redundancy issues, in order to help minimize the lines at convention.  Yojimbo will also get an overhaul on training, including having training by attending pre-convention mini events, so they can get a heads-up and improve the relationship between them and the attendees.  The volunteer system will also be revamped to improve communications between the volunteers and staff, and I hope to have a defined list of volunteer benefits in place 3 months before the convention at the latest.  I know this last issue has been a bone of contention in the past, but it is one that needs to be dealt with at some point.  I am open for any and all questions and constructive criticism, and can be reached multiple ways if you wish to discuss anything outside of the forums.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 04:57:50 pm by Hawkeye »
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2008, 11:36:03 am »
Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?  Do you foresee any conflict of interest or possibly having to short one con to properly serve another. 

(FYI - I was originally involved in planning Go Congress, but had to drop out of that due to my Kcon time commitments.)

Vallie already answered this in the Con Chair thread.

I do not plan to be a director or manager for any other convention that would conflict with Kumoricon 2009.  I also do not foresee any conflict of interest in having to shorten my time served with Kumoricon in order to attend to another convention.
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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2008, 06:19:08 pm »
 I'm Beau Gentry.
 I've been with Kumoricon in some way or another since before the first year. I was part of the anime club Peter and Duncan were running at the UO and members from that club were the founders(I am not, nor have ever been a founder, only staff)
 I've worked mostly in Ops, sometimes as a Yojimbo, in 08 I was the first Liaison to Programming. I've always tried to move around the con helping Staff and Attendees as best as I can.
 Part of my plans for Ops is to step away from the department of Yojimbo a little and appoint qualified and trustworthy managers to the sub-departments in Ops so I can try to oversee the running of all the departments.
 I would love to see the overall efficiency of the con improve, we have fantastic volunteers and staff, sometimes they don't have the means to do the work they need/want to, mostly due to communication issues and logistics.
 For my work I've been working at a Grocery store unofficially running a small crew of freight workers. The other jobs I've had have all been dealing with the public in one way or another(except for the hour and a half I DJ'd at a strip club ::)  (ask me about that sometime :)
 I am not staff at any other convention.
 I welcome any and all questions or comments
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Offline melchizedek

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2008, 09:09:12 am »
How difficult / long of a commute is it for the nominees to make it to a portland meeting?
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2008, 10:46:11 am »
Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?  Do you foresee any conflict of interest or possibly having to short one con to properly serve another. 

(FYI - I was originally involved in planning Go Congress, but had to drop out of that due to my Kcon time commitments.)

Vallie already answered this in the Con Chair thread.

I'm going to have to be a bit redundant anyway, because most questions are going to be asked in both threads. 

I do not plan to work for any other convention while I work for Kumoricon in 2009.  I will be happy to attend other events as a representative of Kumoricon, but I will not join another convention's staff.  I do not forsee having any other conflicts of interests or time during the next year.

How difficult / long of a commute is it for the nominees to make it to a portland meeting?

Commuting to a Portland meeting isn't difficult at all for me.  I do have a vehicle now, so I have a lot more freedom to travel around.  If anything goes wrong with my van, and I can't get a carpool from a friend, my work provides me with a year round Trimet pass so I'd be able to take public transportation just about anywhere for free.

And I live in Beaverton, really close to a Max line.  If I'm driving I can be in downtown Portland in less than 20 minutes, traffic permitting.  If taking max, less than 40 minutes to get to downtown.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 10:49:14 am by valliegirl »
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2008, 02:21:00 pm »
Well, I live in Beaverton, so making the Portland meetings is easy enough.  As far as outside of Portland, I will arrange ahead of time for a carpool situation as I am TriMet bound and do not have a car.  Absolute worst case scenario, that's what Skype and/or Ventrilo can be used for.
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Offline Dealrith

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2008, 07:37:57 pm »
Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?  Do you foresee any conflict of interest or possibly having to short one con to properly serve another. 

(FYI - I was originally involved in planning Go Congress, but had to drop out of that due to my Kcon time commitments.)

Vallie already answered this in the Con Chair thread.

I currently am not involved with any other Conventions in a staff position and do not plan to become staff for any other.

How difficult / long of a commute is it for the nominees to make it to a portland meeting?

I live in Newberg about 45 minutes away from Portland. Baring accidents and such I have a fairly easy commute into and out of Portland since I have my own vehicle. I will also find a carpool if for some reason my vehicle is out of commission.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2008, 08:36:35 pm »


Nominees:
What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 09:58:16 pm by RemSaverem »
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2008, 11:04:33 pm »
Nominees:
What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?

As soon as we've got all of our directors in place, we need a solid Registration manager in place right away.  Someone responsible, who is willing to work hard throughout the year.  Someone who is reliable, trustworthy, has experience with registration, and is easy to not only work with but to get a hold of.  There are certain persons already interested in the position, that very well meet this criteria.  If someone else is voted as Operations Director, I will happily give references.

Once we have a good manager in place, we need to empower this person by giving them the things they need to succeed.  I will focus on providing any additional knowledge or information they may need to be successful in the position, access to equipment and databases, plus looking into additional technologies and equipment that will be beneficial, which is dependent on budgeting. 

One specific thing I do wish to occur with Operations this year, I want a director who is familiar enough with Registration and is accessible enough to the Registration Manager, to provide assistance to Registration if/when it becomes necessary.  While I definitely have appreciated the hard work and time put into registration by multiple con chairs in the past, I want to break the cycle of skipping a very important rung in the organizational ladder.  I would fully be able to provide support to Registration if needed, but I will be honest that there are other nominees that will be able to do this as well.  I want for the next Operations Director, no matter who is chosen, to have the availability, knowledge, and experience with this very important piece of their department to know what to do when things go south, and act on it. 

Cautionary note:  Please keep in mind I'm not trying to say anything about the abilities of previous Operations Directors.  I know the chairs in both situations took Registration on willingly more out of perceived necessity than anything else.  My point is I want to break that cycle, or keep it from becoming the norm, because Chairs should ONLY have to do this as a last resort.  Registration should first and foremost be the responsibility of the Registration Manager and if situations escalate, the Ops Director must be empowered to step in. 

I also would work very closely with Facilities and the Con Cartographer to find the best location for will call, pre-reg, and at door registration tables, ways to optimize traffic flow, and reduce confusion between the lines for all three.

Also, I won't take credit for the following idea, but I will say I will totally support expanding Registration so that we have an assistant who's primary responsibility is Pre-reg, an assistant who's primary responsibility is At con Reg, and an additional assistant who deals mainly with the tech side of registration and is on call during the convention should tech support be necessary.  We definitely need to have test runs to make sure our computer systems are working properly and make sure all of our top reg staffers have enough experience with the systems to run them.  And everyone should be aware of the best contingency plans for what to do should things go wrong at the last minute.

We also need to work on our organizational skills.  We must make realistic deadlines and we must keep them.  We must make sure to switch over the forwarding email addresses as soon as a person is in their new position, and we must test our email addresses when we switch them over so that we can make sure that the new "owner" of a forwarded address is receiving the emails correctly.  And emails must be answered promptly.  I would like to set a goal that all attendee correspondence is answered within three days.  Even if it's to say, "I will need to look into this matter further, I will need x amount of days to investigate", that's better than no response. 

PS

Because I want to make sure everyone is hearing me properly, as context can be construed in different ways in text, please understand that I'm not attempting to be contentious with anything that I've said here, and I've read and reread everything I've said to make sure I'm stating everything in the best tone possible.  I'm very passionate about the issues I've seen with Registration over the years, and that passion can sometimes be misinterpreted.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 11:26:29 pm by valliegirl »
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Offline BigGuy

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2008, 08:37:39 am »
I'll be honest, getting to Portland is hard for me. It's a 2 hour drive on I-5 and I work Graveyard. but given enough notice(2 weeks optimal) I can schedule time off from work and drive up there. Otherwise I can call in with skype.

 For registration I think we need to get people trained on the equipment and procedures early and get them comfortable with running it(including me). For the lines we need to have more signage and a clear layout before people start lining up. we also need people out walking the lines informing people where the prereg and atcon reg lines are. I heard from several people this year that had to wait in a huge line just to find out they were in the wrong line
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2008, 08:55:44 am »
I agree with everything basically that you've both said in terms of what would improve reg. Here's one follow-up question, though: Is making those changes the domain of the Ops director? Or is there someone else (perhaps the Chair or the entire Board) who would have to approve certain things, e.g.,: Adding new Coordinator positions; changing who has access to software and/or email? If software and email aspects are, say, presently under Publicity, is there someone who could facilitate things such an Ops Liason to Publicity (the way that Beau was Jaki's Liason to Ops)? Ditto with Signage and Relations?

Could things be streamlined if those micro-aspects still under the control of other departments (if any) could be released to Reg (e.g., not Signage in general, but just Signage for Reg)? etc.?

Please note that I have not been involved in Reg and am asking simply as someone wanting to streamline the process, not someone with knowledge of the present outline, nor how people have performed therein, and am not commenting in any way on those thus far involved in Signage, software access, etc.
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2008, 11:18:26 am »
I agree with everything basically that you've both said in terms of what would improve reg. Here's one follow-up question, though: Is making those changes the domain of the Ops director? Or is there someone else (perhaps the Chair or the entire Board) who would have to approve certain things, e.g.,: Adding new Coordinator positions; changing who has access to software and/or email? If software and email aspects are, say, presently under Publicity, is there someone who could facilitate things such an Ops Liason to Publicity (the way that Beau was Jaki's Liason to Ops)? Ditto with Signage and Relations?

Could things be streamlined if those micro-aspects still under the control of other departments (if any) could be released to Reg (e.g., not Signage in general, but just Signage for Reg)? etc.?

Please note that I have not been involved in Reg and am asking simply as someone wanting to streamline the process, not someone with knowledge of the present outline, nor how people have performed therein, and am not commenting in any way on those thus far involved in Signage, software access, etc.

There are decisions that are not up to just one person, and we all need each other to be successful, which is why communication is so important.  It's not just an issue of one department, it's an issue for the entire organization. 

Putting a good manager in Place can be done by the Ops Director, and changing the power structure to include assistants with specific duties I'm fairly certain can be done by the Director.  (Feel free to correct if I'm wrong)  Empowering the Staff must be something everyone lends to.  If Ops Director believes a manager should have a certain amount of power and everyone else on the board disagrees, the Ops Director may be overruled.  If the 2009 convention chair refuses to relinquish controls the position had over Registration in late 2008, this will hinder that empowerment. 

Layouts, as previously stated, need to be worked out in conjunction with facilities.  New tech is a matter of budgeting and board approval.  I can say I'm for it and I'll investigate and advocate, but I can't make additional promises until after the new board is formed. 

Test runs for equipment, as long as the work to get the tech is done, all of it is set up, we have a place to run the drills, that shouldn't be an issue to set up.  I say shouldn't be, because we've set that expectation before and it didn't happen because of difficulties of time, location, and the work being complete beforehand.    Better planning beforehand and communication with those responsible for getting systems up and running to make sure they have everything they need will help all around. 

Better organizational and communication skills is something I can preach, but we all have to get involved and work on it together.  We all have to be diligent in our efforts in order to be successful.  If I need for something to happen within the week, but it's dependent on another person and they're not available, it comes back on me because I set the expectation to begin with. 

As far as Liasons are concerned, in many ways they do help with long term communication when you have someone involved in the progress of both sides, and is definitely necessary between Ops and Programming.  For something like making sure the email addresses get updated, I would just talk to Jeff myself, get an eta for the work to be finished and then test it out once he states it's taken care of.  If you get a middle man involved with something simple, I think it just makes one more degree of separation and one more person to complicate issues.  For simple issues, I would just take a direct route and go directly to the source.  If I needed someone to be completely up to date on the ins and outs of publicity, then we'd talk liason, but just for one thing, keep it simple.  And with Signage, I would just have the Registration Manager talk to our King of Signage.  If they want additional ideas, I'll be happy to supply them, but signage itself it a fairly simple thing that a manager can handle.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 10:55:17 am by valliegirl »
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2008, 11:45:07 am »
Nominees:
What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?

Well, to start, I think we need to set earlier dates for the mail-out sessions to streamline pre-registration.  I also would set the mail-out dates a little earlier in each session than they have been before.  Something that would help is to make sure we have a defined set of registration policies in place and online no more than a month after the elections meeting so people can have an FAQ listing to refer to when pre-registering.  This would also benefit people at-con so they would know what forms of ID to bring with them, what our rules are regarding refunds/badge exchanging, and a number of other things.  I would also like to see our reg monkeys and/or Maid Squad taking paperwork and pens to people in the post-reg line (if they haven't been doing so already) to get it completed before they get to the desk.  Yojimbo would go through the pre-reg and post-reg lines peace-bonding any props so the attendees wouldn't have to deal with that as a part of the registration processes.

To streamline the pre-reg pick up/Will Call process we need to make sure we have more than two or three working computers and make sure that Operations has full access to the computers designated for our use.  If we can have that going on, that means we can process more people in a shorter amount of time, thus shortening the lines themselves.  I would also make sure that we had effective line control, by stationing plenty of Yojimbo for crowd control and scouting out the place beforehand to determine effective line placement to facilitate traffic flow and so that we do not risk breaking fire code.  This is an area where the Maid Squad would be useful.  Water stations would also be made available for our thirsty attendees.  The last thing I would do to help streamline the process is to keep our Disabilities Coordinator involved so he/she can help process the registration with an obvious physical need in a timely manner.

For staffing needs, we definitely need to have a good Registration Manager in place as soon as the elections are over, and the Reg Manager needs to have a good assistant in place so we can start working on what needs to be improved, what needs to be implemented.  I think that the assistant Reg Manager needs to be every bit as involved as the Reg Manager and be able and/or willing to step up to the plate if the situation calls for it, which will be easier facilitated by better communication between them and the Operations Director.  I would also push for more reg monkeys a lot earlier in the year.  I would also like to have a designated Registration Liaison, someone who can talk to all departments and assist the Reg Manager in getting all the registration needs fulfilled. 

As far as policies go, the board and Operations Director need to hammer out the policies for Registration, including refunds; badge exchanges; costume/prop rules; curfew rules.  All of this is vital to our attendees, because I had a number of them come up and ask me questions about what they could and couldn't do, they didn't feel like they received adequate information during the pre-registration process.  So I'd like to see this posted online right next to the registration info (both the forms they can print out and the online process).  This may also in turn help communications on the forums, by reserving the forums for questions that come up that are not already answered in the online policies.

Communication has consistently been a problem on BOTH ends of the spectrum for the last year or two, I honestly do not think anyone can deny this.  My plans to improve this would be to set more realistic goals in smaller chunks more frequently, rather than have everything done all at once all at one time.  I would also request progress reports every week or two from the Registration Staff, even if all they say is "Nothing has changed yet".  At least that way we would know what was going on.  I would also request that the kumoricon email addresses be handed over to the new Ops Director and his/her staffers very shortly after the elections.  I would also make sure as many of the bugs as possible were worked out with said email by the end of October at the latest so there can be no claims of not being reachable by email.  I have a Ventrilo server (think Skype) that would be put to immediate use for all Reg and Ops staff as another communication tool, as well as always being reachable via IM and my cell phone which never leaves my side.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 11:45:38 am by Hawkeye »
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Offline Mr_Phelps

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2008, 06:30:17 pm »
Yikes!  Try and take a convention light weekend and I'm already buried in the thread!  (Though a "light" weekend still involved working on scanning in the 2008 reg forms to .pdf)  Can't win sometimes...

OK, who am I, as an Ops candidate.  Still a person that gives everything I can to the convention, every day.  I am always ready to help where needed, and try to lend insight where I can. 

In my mind, what we need in Ops is mainly a bit more structure on the areas away from security.  The Quartermaster idea is exactly in line with that thought.  Most of this could be done with more efficient use of our resources before con.  Getting an orginization party in the locker that breaks our gear down into kits for the various areas and color-coding boxes and totes for staging during build-up and teardown.  Getting more Ops staff so we can let folks that want to work the tech angle have a shot at it without getting pressed into Yoji duty.

Make no mistake, Yoji's did an awesome job this year as understaffed as we were.  The only complaints that really came out of the rant/rave were line control and that will "always" happen as hotels are not designed for our style of events. 

The other area that needs lots of work is communication.  That was a problem across all departments this year and driven in large part by the lack of staff and opportunites for us to really get together and talk.  Too often meetings were started late and ran longer than planned.  This cut into breakouts and by the time we might be able to start being just social and start actually communicating we were being kicked out of the building.  Moving the meetings to campuses where we have a bit more flexibility on time will help with that.  This year should should also see events during the year where we will just be able to get together and "meet" the other people on the staff roster and foster the spirit of community that we need.  (Read: at least a few Rock Band / gaming events where the goal is to just have fun and hang out together!)

As for reg:  We were understaffed.  That is always going to be a challenge, but I believe going into this next year we are in far better shape than we have ever been.  As for getting it back into the hands of the Operation folks, that is my goal as either Chair or Ops director.  This is a core part of the structure that should form the backbone of the con.  We just need to get the focus back to structure and support.

The reg lines were run the way they were for a reason.  We had nearly 1000 pre-reg hit the last month before con and that in itself was challenging.  This meant that we had over 2400 people to get into the building "before" we could know if the hotel was going to be too full.  Which drove working harder to get the pre-reg in and forced the "at door" reg to have to flow slower until we knew what level we were going to cap at.  The "soft" cap was at 3600 and we thought we had reached that Saturday afternoon.  Once the line was finally done and we had a good feel for what the hotel could hold we lifted the cap for the rest of the weekend.  Though we did not think we were anywhere close to the actual numbers we had.  The "hard" cap had been planned at 4000, and even though we passed that it didn't feel like we were over it.

Going forward, we need the tech side of reg to actually work the way we have envisioned it.  That would be stations were a pre-regged person would come up with ID and badge, get checked and given a lanyard/swagbag and be on thier way in a timely fashion.  Next year should have that in place as we are closing in on the database and server solution.

The new hotel gives us an opportunity to have the lines inside for the first time and that is going to be both exciting and challenging.

Overall, we need to make sure our outreach includes efforts to bring in more staff/volunteers and help them find ways to contribute whereever their skill set is.
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2008, 09:28:24 pm »
To carry over from my original thread...

So now, I have some questions to start the discussion.
First off, as the President of Pocky Club I have already gathered a lot of data on what pocky our staff prefers. Things change though so Nominees, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky?

Do you have any new ideas for registration?
Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?

How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.

What do you think should be done with that elephant?
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Offline babysugarbear28

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2008, 09:50:17 pm »
Just wondering...
Tom, what do you mean by "that elephant?"

Offline rictheron

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2008, 10:02:04 pm »
Q: Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?  Do you foresee any conflict of interest or possibly having to short one con to properly serve another.

A:  Traditionally I have only worked a single convention at a time, with the exception of two day volunteer work during a convention.  I have been asked to assist in the inception stages of a small ( <400 attendee) gaming convention which I am still in consideration over, though this would occur several months prior to Kumoricon.  However my work with Kumoricon will never falter for any job concerns.

Q: How difficult / long of a commute is it for the nominees to make it to a portland meeting?

A: I drive and live in Salem, so it Is only about a 50 minute drive either way for me to commute.

Q: What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?

A: First, Registration backups on a monthly scale, both digitally with paper prints stored securely to prevent any data loss at any point through out the year.  A formalization of the work performed by Vice Chair Dawn this last year as an inter-department Registration coordinator.  The primary duty being to stay in communication with the directors/managers governing the various aspects of Registration and keeping them informed of what others are planning and the state of their progress.  All Online, mail in and outreach registration could then be consolidated into a single working registry held by all those involved.  This coordinator could also handle initiating stuffing and mail out parties.  The computer network setup for this years post reg data entry can be expanded for use at outreach events and the Post Reg during the actual con.  Additionally more experienced staff in the Operations department can be trained in Reg to provide relief and additional service during peak periods of the line to help move more quickly.  An in- line paper system can also help speed the Post Reg line.  Additionally the computer IT staff will become intimately involved with Registration to solve all technical issues well in advance of the actual convention and prepare a manual for solving any technical issues at any given time.

Additional: The 2008 Ops computer network used at Con can be expanded to provide quick, clear communication during the course of the convention.  A set of dedicated email accounts and other equipment to assure regular communication between director and managers.  While 2008 saw greater staff turn out than any previous year, a dedicated PR/Recruitment staff member at numerous events to help further improve staff signup. Petition for placing disabilities services into the same division as nursing to help provide helpers who are most capable.  Retain the dedicated, multi discipline tech staff and integrate them more closely with the other departments and divisions to provide more assurance of working equipment.
Jess Shelton
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2007 Assist. Operations Manager/Yojimbo Manager
2006 Assist. Yojimbo Manager
2005 Yojimbo Manager
2003-2004 Security
Credentials: senior Physics Major at PSU,Edu minor, Store Manager, Instructor, Security

Offline Dealrith

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2008, 10:09:50 pm »
Nominees:
What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?


Signage. Always a must. With the signage a means to help people differentiate where to be corresponding to the signage.

One Of the major issue I noticed being a Yojimbo is the congestion that is built up not really while people are outside in their lines but once that get to the major reg area and are waiting to just before the reg tables. The high traffic coming from the main room along with the viewing rooms as an event or show let out created an explosion of people all trying to get somewhere and just getting stuck. I would work with the cartographer to place the reg line in a low traffic area, this year being in the EMC due to its main entrance and smaller panels. It will help clear frustration from a line becoming a blob and keep con goers happier. Also, with us having three lines I would take the one estimated to be the slowest and switch it to a secondary entrance like we had reg this year. By doing this we can put a pre-reg and will call table on the right and left of the main reg doors to keep them close to the reg traffic and not forcing them to navigate through natural traffic through the con. I would then take the longer/slower of the two lines, at the door reg, and have two tables devoted to them. If our growth rate is even the same in 2009 then we'll be capping again so we can expect this and plan to cut the line (not on the top of my list) without adding confusion to the other lines like happened this year. If the sun decided to shine on us and we didn't hit cap before the pre-reg and will call lines die down for the day we can either shut down one of the tables for the night dedicated to them and send that staff over to assist with the on the door reg or we can open up the extra table as a third at the door reg to move folks through faster, the former being better so as not to change around the at the door reg.
Now that's the physical side of the stampede.
As to tieing these groups together revolves around some technology.
The new laptops that the con procured this year weren't really put to use. Although they are small they have some decent potential to them with a little bit of training. I propose we set up a network between the laptops and a server, possibly the yoji computer (about all its good for) or a different one that belongs to the con with a database set up to it. The database would be set up with the current pre-reg information including a digital version of their reg forms (for faster access in case of emergencies) and highlights on information that might need to be fixed or updated. The database will also be able to update itself with info about on site registration for the at the door reg and upload it into so the information can be retrieved. This can also be expanded upon be instead of the small laptops being used at the main station but instead using a second set of reg computers/laptops at the main stations and setting up the small laptops for what they are good for, mobility. Setting up the small laptops for imput only and then walking down the lines with them letting the people who are waiting in like first fill out their registration forms and then manually imputing info onto the laptop. This way the the info is already in the system for when they get up to the tables. The staffer watching the table can pull up the attendees info but name and birthday, make sure its the right person by ID of some sort, review it to make sure its all correct and then push a button to have a badge printed. (Be it plastic or paper). The staffer then collects the money and hands them the badge and lanyard with the swag bag. A staffer would follow the small laptop around while its walking through the lines and then when its low on power plug it in. This way we speed up the lines and we can also keep a more exact tally of people coming into the con. The database can be purchased by the con or if their is someone who is gifted with programming and willing to help we'll use their help. With a database we can keep our mainstream training to a minimum and it can be easily picked up by staffers/vollunteers willing to assist with reg and then we can train a tech team for reg that can handle issues should they arise.

That's just for at con. With a decent database we can also open up online registrations through the the website. Some one trying to register can fill in certain fields on the website along with a reg form if need be. The filled in fields are then downloaded at certain intervals (weekly, nightly, ect, ect.) to the database and then then the person can receive an auto email if the registration was completed successfully or if their was information that had to be corrected. That way the forms are already electronic and their is very little manual imputing on staffs part helping to devote man power to other events if need be and providing an easier method for envelope stuffing.
On a offshoot the database can then be used for the whole con in a condensed version for panels or events. Just give your badge number or name and a con computer puts you into the event's temp list as attending. Opens up different possibilities for contests.

I also agree with the suggestions of new manager positions in reg. That way if there are issues/questions that arise they can be directed to the manager and then if the manager is unable to correct the issue with their staff it can be escalated to either the Reg Manager or Ops director depending on what the reg manager and ops director decide. These managers will also be empowered to a certain to a degree so that their staff and themselves can run more independently allowing the Reg Manager to more room to correct other issues that might arise along with the ops director. Before the con their would need to be regular updates as to the status of each team and goals set to ensure that at con performance would run smoothly.

I agree with everything basically that you've both said in terms of what would improve reg. Here's one follow-up question, though: Is making those changes the domain of the Ops director? Or is there someone else (perhaps the Chair or the entire Board) who would have to approve certain things, e.g.,: Adding new Coordinator positions; changing who has access to software and/or email? If software and email aspects are, say, presently under Publicity, is there someone who could facilitate things such an Ops Liason to Publicity (the way that Beau was Jaki's Liason to Ops)? Ditto with Signage and Relations?

Could things be streamlined if those micro-aspects still under the control of other departments (if any) could be released to Reg (e.g., not Signage in general, but just Signage for Reg)? etc.?

Please note that I have not been involved in Reg and am asking simply as someone wanting to streamline the process, not someone with knowledge of the present outline, nor how people have performed therein, and am not commenting in any way on those thus far involved in Signage, software access, etc.

The implements I have suggested so far for reg I believe are in the power of the Reg manager with the support of the Ops Director. Purchase of the database and possible new additions to the hard wear of the con towards new laptops/technology in general for these implements will require the boards approval.


I'm sorry Tom, your questions came in mid novel. I'll have answers for them tomorrow. Tonight I sleep.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 10:13:20 pm by Dealrith »
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2008, 12:18:13 am »
First off, as the President of Pocky Club I have already gathered a lot of data on what pocky our staff prefers. Things change though so Nominees, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky?

Chocolate Dessert Pocky  ^_^

Do you have any new ideas for registration?

I basically just answered this with Ellen's questions, so I'll skip ahead.

Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?

Yojimbo is one of the most solid things about this convention, and we've got a lot of good leaders in their ranks.  I would have a lot of faith in the person chosen to be Yojimbo one to have a good handle on the group and to communicate any needs they may have.

As one of the biggest complaints was, and has been in the past, customer service, I want this to be a focus for the all staff members.  As Yojimbo are a fairly obvious public face of the con, we need to focus on making sure everyone knows what is and is not acceptable when dealing with the attendees.  I know it's not everyone.  And when it's monday morning, you've had 5 hours of sleep all weekend, and you haven't stopped moving for fear of passing out, people will get edgy and say things in a way that is possibly a bit harsher than intended.  Perhaps more staffing (start praying), and creative scheduling will make that situation better.  However, if there's someone who just isn't good with dealing with people no matter the situation, maybe we need to identify those individuals, and find a different position for them in the convention.  And for everyone else, training training training.

Beyond that, I like the idea that came up about replacing our current walkie talkie systems with Direct Connect.  I'd be willing to investigate further once I have info on how expensive it would be, and how much of a budget our department has.

How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.

If the board meetings are on the weekends, I will always be able to make a meeting, barring personal emergencies.  If it's during the week, if I'm given more than two weeks notice, it is possible I could get time off.  However, there are variables such as whether or not the date is available and whether or not I have paid time off available.  I am going to plan ahead and keep a decent amount of paid time off available in the "bank" so that I can take it for meetings if need be.

So weekdays, I will list as likely, but not guaranteed.  Weekends, 99% guaranteed.

What do you think should be done with that elephant?

Throw a fashionable rug over its back and hope no one mentions it?
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Offline BigGuy

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2008, 10:06:35 am »
 from Tom: So now, I have some questions to start the discussion.
First off, as the President of Pocky Club I have already gathered a lot of data on what pocky our staff prefers. Things change though so Nominees, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky?

 I like Chocolate mousse(kinda boring I know)

Quote from: TomtheFanboy on September 15, 2008, 09:28:24 PM
Do you have any new ideas for registration?
 Not really, other people have brought up very good points, no matter who wins I think we should try to utilize all the good ideas brought up in this thread(and give credit/thanks to those who brought them up)

Quote from: TomtheFanboy on September 15, 2008, 09:28:24 PM
Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?
  I think having a layering of people to deal with situations, so that not everything gets passed along to one person, will take some of the stress off our yoji managers. Then also with that have a designated meeting time/place everyday for recaps and situation reports(for non-critical non-emergency types of things obviously)


Quote from: TomtheFanboy on September 15, 2008, 09:28:24 PM
How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.

 My work post our schedule every Thursday for the next week. I would have to know about something before then to try to move days around. More advance notice of meetings would be best.

Quote from: TomtheFanboy on September 15, 2008, 09:28:24 PM
What do you think should be done with that elephant?
 
There's an Elephant?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 04:04:04 pm by BigGuy »
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2008, 10:09:39 am »
First off, as the President of Pocky Club I have already gathered a lot of data on what pocky our staff prefers. Things change though so Nominees, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky?
Do you have any new ideas for registration?
Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?
How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.
What do you think should be done with that elephant?

To start, my favorite flavor of Pocky is Men's Pocky.

As far as new ideas for reg go, read my earlier posts and I think you'll get an idea of what I've got in mind.

For yojimbo management, I plan on recruiting 40 people minimum, as we need to maintain a 1 yojimbo for every 100 attendees ratio.  If we recruit yojimbo under the age of 18, they will be exclusively covering the earliest shifts to allow the older squadmates to sleep.  I will also set up a better customer service base in the trainings as well as finding ways to do trial runs to make sure they can handle the duties.  I deeply love the idea of switching to Nextel Direct Connect, however I will not use Boost Mobile for the squad as Boost is an utter failure.  I also would request that each board member carry a radio or Direct Connect on them to facilitate communications between the yojimbo squad and themselves, as we had a lot of questions on where to locate this or that person.  I would structure the management in a way that would promote better communications, such as having the floor managers spend a required amount of time in the yojimbo headquarters, and having floor managers on a permanent roaming position when they're not in the office itself.

At this time, I could very easily readjust my schedule to accommodate a board meeting, as long as I had the ability to use Skype or Ventrilo if the meeting were in Salem or Eugene if I couldn't get a ride.

I couldn't care less what you do with the elephant, especially if it's pink.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 10:11:55 am by Hawkeye »
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2008, 10:11:53 am »
...however I will not use Boost Mobile for the squad as Boost is an utter failure.

amen
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2008, 10:14:54 am »
...however I will not use Boost Mobile for the squad as Boost is an utter failure.

amen

I did their customer service work in 2003 during the massive wildfires of San Bernadino/San Diego, not only is their product shoddy, but the script I had to follow and the way I had to treat the customers by company rule nearly drove me to drink.  If we move away from two-way radios, we really do need to stick with Nextel.
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2008, 10:22:29 am »
Kenton had a very good question that he posed in other threads, but not this one, so I'm going to carry it over:

I feel that this is an important question and so I am posting in every staff elected election section:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2008, 10:38:42 am »
I feel that this is an important question and so I am posting in every staff elected election section:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

I have been thinking heavily on this.  I haven't settled on one particular person, and probably won't completely settle until after the election is over and I know I have one of the positions I'm vying for.  I have been approached by at least one person with interest, but I want to keep options open at this point.

The qualities that I want in an assistant:  I would like someone who has interest in the job, foremost.  Someone who can work well with me, which isn't difficult.  Someone who has a decent amount of availability, and doesn't have huge schedule or time conflicts.  I would prefer someone local, either in the Hillsboro/Beaverton/Tigard area or Portland proper would be fine, as long as we can travel to each other easily.  Someone who is able to make it to general meetings on a regular basis, in the 1% chance that something happens to me, they can stand up in my stead.  I would also prefer, but not insist on, a person who has experience in areas of Ops where I may be lacking, such as tech.  And of course, Reliability, trustworthiness, things I'd look for in a staff member anyway. 
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 10:45:10 am by valliegirl »
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2008, 12:36:12 pm »
Thank you all for the details re: Reg.
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Offline PhantmK

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2008, 12:50:40 pm »
Introductions first,
Hello my Name is Kenton Cook I am 21 years old, I have been working for the convention for 3 years and going to the convention for 5. Most of you have probably seen or heard me running about the convention as Floor Manager last year. I have almost ran for ops last year but felt that due to my personal life at the time I could not put forth the proper time nor effort needed for this position. However, this year I feel that I could do the con proud.

Apologies second,
I know it has taken me a while to post and for this I apologize but I was doing 2 things that I feel are very important for someone to do if they plan to run the Operations of a convention our size, Researching and Communicating.
Also I would like to apologize for the length that the following post may take due to the many questions that have been asked and the collective answers.

Now down to business.
As for my favorite Pocky flavor I would have to say… Pocky. I mean seriously how can I choose? ANYWAY, now for the coating on that crunchy schtick.

 To keep things simple I will do this in chronological order:
Quote
How will you try to make sure Tech continues to evolve and make sure it is used most efficiently before and during the con?

By communicating with those in charge of tech and those in charge of Programming. When it comes down to it the problem that most often comes up is that Tech is one of those babies that shows up at an orphanage but 2 parent couples claim that it is theirs. But I feel that by talking with the techs themselves and maybe even setting up a managerial position in that department. However one thing that needs to be clear is that who will run Tech is truly up to the new board to decide, because even Liaisons helped run Main Events this last year. Also one of the other huge concerns is that staff has always been short when it comes to inventory, setup, and tear down of all the general equipment that is involved with Kumoricon. Therefore I plan to take up with the board about possibly creating 3 or more new positions within either Operations or Programming that will help with Inventory, Set up, and Tear Down. Of course 1 of the positions being inventory, and 2 of them being both set up and tear down. This way we will have staff whose job it is to help us move equipment back into the locker. There has already been talk of creating a quartermaster position within the staff forums for those who don’t already know. This is all still under much debate and I do not plan on taking any action on it without first consulting the board and all those previously involved with the Tech area.

Quote
Are you now, or do you plan to be a director or manager of another convention where your term will overlap with your term as a Kcon director?

I am not, and do not plan to be a director nor manager of any other convention what so ever. If I am Director of Kumoricon then my time and effort are to be poured into Kumoricon and no other convention.

Quote
How difficult / long of a commute is it for the nominees to make it to a portland meeting?

I live in Beaverton OR, and am 15 minutes walking from a major transit center. I do have a vehicle I use from time to time, but even if I am trimet bound I can be downtown in little over an hour. Most often I get downtown in 20 mins.

Quote
Nominees:
What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?

First off, for how wrong some things went, I want to thank and congratulate the entire registration team. Even in the face of the difficulties they stood tall and took on the horde of 4,470 con attendees, all without computers and still made it as pleasant as possible. Also many thanks to the maid squad for assisting with the lines and making sure that they were kept happy/organized throughout the con. 
Now, as for the issues, No one knows them better than the actual Registration team, thankfully I have been able to sit down and talk with quite a few of them. But most of all I have been able to speak of plans they have and what will help them most in the coming years. Thanks to this information I have derived that I would like to announce that if elected I will be appointing Rachael Kirkland as my registration manager. She has some great Ideas as far as making sure that things go smoothly. Some of which include: Posting at con registration hours both online and at the convention, Posting a FAQ for registration concerns so that some situations can be dealt with and not having the con-goers e-mailing reg staff with the same questions on a constant basis, keeping a database with all past, present, and future Registration to keep it all organized and available.  Lastly, thanks to Dawn Hewitt and her vast knowledge of cons, scratching the whole lanyard idea for a more efficient and cheap printed badge holders. That way con goers will no longer have to stress about the lanyards for their cosplays, and Staff wont have to bother authenticating a checked-in attendee. Also making sure that people have read through the con rules that they agree to at time of registration by having their be check boxes on both registration forms and the online registration.

Quote
Is making those changes the domain of the Ops director? Or is there someone else (perhaps the Chair or the entire Board) who would have to approve certain things, e.g.,: Adding new Coordinator positions; changing who has access to software and/or email? If software and email aspects are, say, presently under Publicity, is there someone who could facilitate things such an Ops Liason to Publicity (the way that Beau was Jaki's Liason to Ops)? Ditto with Signage and Relations?

Some of the things I have mentioned do need to be taken up with the board of directors. But most of the normal registration is taken care of by the registration manager. I already know I can count on Rachael to communicate well with other sources, and to ask for help when she needs it. But as far as decisions go, this is why Communication is the key focus for me this year. Without Communication this con will fall. I plan on meeting with all former directors and managers of all departments to see where they feel Operations can improve, and try to improve on what seems to be the key factor in making this year a successful year for operations. One last thing I would like to ad, whether or not I am appointed to the position of Director of Operations, I will share all information that I have learned and share it with whomever may be placed in said position so as to assure that communication and history are learned from and not forgotten.

Quote
Do you have any new ideas for registration?

I do but I am sure to collaborate all my thoughts and efforts with Rachael to make sure that she approves of the methods and ideas in which I go about doing them. Also as previously mentioned, Planning lots and lots of it, cause if things run smooth before con, they might run smooth during.

Quote
Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?

Yea, Separate and Dominate. Now I am not suggesting that yojimbo not be part of operations, cause that’s just crazy talk. However, Yojimbo will become a more clean cut grouping, I want my Yojimbo managers to be able to operate with me maybe stopping in to say 'hi, how is it going.'  I would be first and foremost Operations Director, to direct, not manage my departments. As with every other department, I want there to be a plan, with a back-up plan, with a back-up plan for the back-up plan. That way the only time people need to come to me is if either there is no plan for a situation or that everything has gone wrong and I need to step in. Now with that said, I have some ideas that may help yojimbo become more organized, so that by the beginning of spring I may not need worry about that department. Such as a small test in which all yojimbo must pass in order to become yojimbo this year, a written test, but one that shows they at least understand the policies of being yojimbo before they are allowed to wear the yojimbo colors or the like. Also more concentration on teaching the first years and the inexperienced yojimbo so that veterans can concentrate on being ready by time of con, we need all the help we can get this year, but if it isn’t good help, then it is not helping.

Quote
How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.

Very quickly, and even if I cannot get the time off work, that is what having an Assistant is for.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 01:09:42 pm by PhantmK »
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Offline PhantmK

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2008, 12:55:31 pm »
Now I may have spoke a lot about communication, but how exactly do we take care of that. Well thanks to someone who has been pushing for the idea for years (Thank you, Jeff.) I would like to support the idea of doing what Sakuracon does which is get a special deal with Sprint or a third party vendor to get a single weekend pass to use their Nextel phones to communicate instead of walkie-talkie radios. Not only will this possibly cause more wonderful communication, it will be clear because the Hilton happens to have Nextel repeaters within their buildings. 

As was said I plan to speak with all former directors and Managers so as to go about learning from the past. As such I would like to also state that one of my ideas to help the entire convention is to set up a database server in which, all sorts of past information can help us learn from past strengths and mistakes. I have already spoke about most of these ideas with the current directors and so far I have had a pretty positive feedback, so hopefully this might go through and we may be able to smoothly access and input information.

Now I know one of the major concerns is Communication or lack there of. So as to help remedy this I have realized that I would like to propose a new department. Overall Management. Our directors are already busy and that is why most major departments get their own managers, but there is a gap in the hierarchy for some departments, one of which I think is easily remedied. The current floor manager positions under the yojimbo wing will be moved out to the new positions of General Managers. These managers will have the staff list split up for all departments and check in occasionally on all major positions and see how their work is coming along. With these simple check ups they can see if help is needed or if everything is going to plan. So that way by the time con rolls round, the chaos that will be can at least be organized chaos. More details will come in my official presentation of the idea to the board. But I feel that with these positions in place we can at least know where trouble might occur before it even starts. I like to call it continuity protection.

Finally as a gesture that I think should have been implemented long ago:
I would like to announce that I have confirmed that if elected I will be appointing Robert Trotter as my Assistant Operations Director.

As such I would like to ask the following of all other candidates and all candidates for any other appointed assistant director:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

Thank you for your time,
-Kenton

P.S. Thank you Vallie for being so on top of the forums, the reason why I had not posted the question in ops was because I had been preparing my introduction post until 3 a.m. last night and also I wanted to review the writings when I wasn't blurry eyed. But now I am asking the question in this forum officially. Sorry if it confuses anyone or if it is an inconvenience.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2008, 12:58:06 pm »
I realize this might not be possible to answer but:
do any of you have a sense of, if you had to make a pie graph with percentages, what portion of your time each of the subunits of Ops would have? ie. is it 1/4 reg 1/4 tech 1/4/ vol 1/4 yoji or...?
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Offline PhantmK

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #41 on: September 16, 2008, 01:04:58 pm »
I am not sure that any of us can truthfully answer that question because it really depends on what comes up throughout the year. I know that I personally want to try and spend an equal amount of time looking over all of operations, as well as spend a good chunk of time with the board and see if there is anything I can do for them. Mainly I think that by having good managerial staff this upcoming year if elected I could focus more on the trouble areas and then help keep Operations operating.
Sometimes you just gotta pull out the stops give it your all and know that you will come out the other end alive, well, and ready for the next challenge. 
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2008, 08:24:09 pm »
I realize this might not be possible to answer but:
do any of you have a sense of, if you had to make a pie graph with percentages, what portion of your time each of the subunits of Ops would have? ie. is it 1/4 reg 1/4 tech 1/4/ vol 1/4 yoji or...?

I don't think it's feasible to be able to do such a thing, because time percentages vary from day to day, or even hour to hour.  The best way to combat the troublesome spots in terms of staffing or making sure enough time is devoted to each one is to have a good managerial staff in place.
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Offline Dealrith

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2008, 08:42:40 pm »
First off, as the President of Pocky Club I have already gathered a lot of data on what pocky our staff prefers. Things change though so Nominees, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky?

Strawberry. Plain and simple :P

Do you have any new ideas for registration?

Answered with my last round of answers.

Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?

With Yojimbo I feel for the most part they can run themselves with the right leadership. I believe I have the right people for the job in mind but I need to talk to them about it. I would push to train the Yoji in customer service as Hawkeye has suggested. Although it goes against their normal thug demeanor it seems to be the most significant rant against them.

How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.

With at least a few days nowtice my schedule can be arranged to meet requests.

What do you think should be done with that elephant?

....Since it just lost the game I feel it should be left to its own devices.


I realize this might not be possible to answer but:
do any of you have a sense of, if you had to make a pie graph with percentages, what portion of your time each of the subunits of Ops would have? ie. is it 1/4 reg 1/4 tech 1/4/ vol 1/4 yoji or...?


There is no way for me to answer this. Each area of Operations requires a certain amount of devotion at all different times. As the department evolves through out the year so does those requirements.
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #44 on: September 16, 2008, 08:50:10 pm »
I feel that this is an important question and so I am posting in every staff elected election section:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

I have three possible candidates in mind, but I do not wish to announce my choices until the elections are over, because all three are running against me for Director of Operations.  However, what I am looking for in an assistant is someone who can have similar ideas to me but not identical, someone who can reliably attend a meeting in my place if a situation arises, someone who can also balance out my personality.
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2008, 12:53:19 am »
I realize this might not be possible to answer but:
do any of you have a sense of, if you had to make a pie graph with percentages, what portion of your time each of the subunits of Ops would have? ie. is it 1/4 reg 1/4 tech 1/4/ vol 1/4 yoji or...?

Not all subunits are created equal, but they are all priorities.  And there's so many variables that are constantly in flux, that you can't predict what is going to unravel and when or whether everything is just going to go along well.
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #46 on: September 17, 2008, 10:18:16 pm »
How difficult / long of a commute is it for the nominees to make it to a portland meeting?

I live in Beaverton, and have my own transportation.  It is not difficult for me to make meetings.


Nominees:
What would you personally think would be among the best suggestions for remedying the obvious difficulties with both pre-reg and at-con reg processes?

I have not had the chance to talk to reg staff in depth about registration issues, so my input on reg will be just from what I observed, and in no way complete.

Pre-reg:  A Reg Manager and Assistant that are in good communication with each other, and up to date on the tech involved with both the badge printer and database.  More reg staff, earlier in the year, and not so reliant on the bulk of people working the last couple of months, to ease up on some of the stress.  Better communication with the higher-ups.. it shouldn't be necessary for them to step in, but the manager and assistant manager should know they are there if needed.  Realistic deadlines.. August 1 should be the latest date for someone to reg and expect their badges to be mailed to them.  Anything after that - will call.

At-con reg:  Computers/database that works, to help speed the process.  Better communication for the lines - where to start, which line is which, when cap has been reached and where the cut-off in line is - whether it be signage, Maid squad, or a mix of both.


To carry over from my original thread...

So now, I have some questions to start the discussion.
First off, as the President of Pocky Club I have already gathered a lot of data on what pocky our staff prefers. Things change though so Nominees, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky?

Men's pocky, or chocolate mousse.


Do you have any new ideas for registration?
Do you have any new ideas for yojimbo management?

I would want to sit down and talk with last year's reg staff, to see where we could improve registration.  Other people have already posted some great ideas, but I want to hear from the people that did the work at con... their input counts for a lot.

For the yojimbo management... I know that we are understaffed every year.  I would like to see us use the numbers we have more efficiently.  I would like to see them have more of the "customer training" that has been mentioned before - even after you've had little to no sleep for 3 days, there are polite ways to deal with problem attendees.


How quickly could you adjust your schedule to attend a board meeting? Less to do with Ops, just a general nominee question.

Copy from the Prog thread: My schedule is more fixed than some (a regular 8-5 job), but still flexible... I generally don't have any trouble adjusting it as needs arise.  This year, I was able to make all the general and board meetings.


What do you think should be done with that elephant?

Slap on some glow sticks, throw it into the middle of the dances, and really mess with their minds.


As such I would like to ask the following of all other candidates and all candidates for any other appointed assistant director:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

I have a couple of ideas, but have not talked to anyone/made a decision as of yet.


I realize this might not be possible to answer but:
do any of you have a sense of, if you had to make a pie graph with percentages, what portion of your time each of the subunits of Ops would have? ie. is it 1/4 reg 1/4 tech 1/4/ vol 1/4 yoji or...?

Time alotted to subunits is dependent on what needs to be done at the time.  Sorry, Rem.. it's hard to quantify when you don't know what fires are gonna start.


Sorry for the long post... questions piled up by the time I had a chance to sit down and respond to them.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2008, 10:46:18 am »
No worries. Mostly just asked as a mental reminder that not all of ops is yoji....it would be easy for someone to make that mistake when they think about what ops is, if they haven't been involved in the infrastructure and were just coming to vote.
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Offline melchizedek

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #48 on: September 20, 2008, 12:36:39 pm »
1.)  It be pirate time in the land of port.  Let the crew see yer best pirate impression.


2.)  If the crew pick a new captian for operations ship, how'd he take it?

(Note #1 and #2 may and should be combined)
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #49 on: September 20, 2008, 06:14:07 pm »
1.)  It be pirate time in the land of port.  Let the crew see yer best pirate impression.


2.)  If the crew pick a new captian for operations ship, how'd he take it?

(Note #1 and #2 may and should be combined)


Avast ye, me Hearties would just gather for a bottle o' rum, and all would be forgotten.
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Offline Mr_Phelps

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2008, 10:09:47 am »
One of my greatest concerns during the rant/rave was that we would not have enough people willing to step up and take on the responisbility of directorship going into the next con year.

The number of active staffers participating in the Ops elections has set that fear aside.  This is exactly the kind of open discussion that needs to happen to move us into the next con year.  Many new ideas and viewpoints are being brought up and even after the election these will be points that we can work into the Ops department.

I am hereby declining my nomination for the position of Operations Director.

I look forward to seeing the discussions continue and seeing more new direction and ideas that will continue to improve Kumoricon going into the future.

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Offline PhantmK

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2008, 01:16:46 pm »
1.)  It be pirate time in the land of port.  Let the crew see yer best pirate impression.


2.)  If the crew pick a new captian for operations ship, how'd he take it?

(Note #1 and #2 may and should be combined)

Ye be right to ask such a tried and true question matey.
The crew be a wise group of land lubbers and if it be best for the ship to have a new captain, I would be quick to hand over me maps and plunder in hopes that the new salty sea dog keep the ship in tip-top shape. Last we need is for the rum to run dry or the the ship to sink inta davy jones locker. So to whomever the crew may call be wary matie, cause no matter the course, I'll be a keeping both eyes on ye. Yarrrrrharharharharhaaaaaaaar  (Hearty raspy pirate laugh)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2008, 01:26:13 pm by PhantmK »
Sometimes you just gotta pull out the stops give it your all and know that you will come out the other end alive, well, and ready for the next challenge. 
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Offline BigGuy

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #52 on: September 22, 2008, 03:45:37 pm »
1.)  It be pirate time in the land of port.  Let the crew see yer best pirate impression.


2.)  If the crew pick a new captian for operations ship, how'd he take it?

(Note #1 and #2 may and should be combined)


Well as a Ninja I refuse to answer as a pirate.
 But if I don't get elected(I think that's what that pirate gobbledygook was trying to ask) I have lot's of other plans. Mostly in ops. I'd like to do some work as staff preservation and maybe volunteer on the maid squad as a butler.
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #53 on: September 22, 2008, 04:02:23 pm »
1.)  It be pirate time in the land of port.  Let the crew see yer best pirate impression.


2.)  If the crew pick a new captian for operations ship, how'd he take it?

(Note #1 and #2 may and should be combined)

Arr matey, I'd be continuing my duties as operations wench.  In all seriousness, I would continue to work with operations, possibly as secretary if the board wishes to consider me in that aspect.
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #54 on: September 25, 2008, 11:49:54 pm »
I feel that this is an important question and so I am posting in every staff elected election section:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

I have already mentioned that I have three candidates in mind but do not wish to disclose who for reasons of my own, but I have been thinking that in addition to finding someone who meshes well with my own personality and can be a balance to me, there are two other factors I am considering.  Competency of what operations truly is and will need to be, and accessibility for me to reach my assistant director.  Meaning that can I talk to him/her via phone, IM, ventrilo, etc?  Can I meet up with them in person once a month OUTSIDE of the meetings, or even once every couple of weeks?  These are all things I am keeping in mind right now as the elections grow closer.
"Now I'll show you how real vampires do battle!"


Offline BigGuy

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #55 on: September 26, 2008, 12:22:33 pm »
I feel that this is an important question and so I am posting in every staff elected election section:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

I'm not sure who I would appoint as an assistant. That would have to wait till after elections anyway. For me though it would be best to have someone in Portland in case I couldn't make it up there for a meeting and just in general to keep their ears on the ground for me.
And now I'm a catgirl?

The voice of the one I love
was all I could hear as I lay broken in the darkness
My own voice faltered
My wings no longer had the strength to fly
 -Lagoon Engine Einsatz-

Offline valliegirl

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #56 on: October 02, 2008, 10:29:04 am »
I feel that this is an important question and so I am posting in every staff elected election section:
Who do you plan to appoint as your assistant director and have they accepted the offer for the position?

As a second update, I have thought more specifically about whom I would choose as an assistant to Ops.  I have contacted an individual that I believe would serve well in this position.  However, this person is also nominated for election and also has not specified their level of interest to me.  There are so many variables that are in play, I would not wish to name this person until after the election is finalized. 
Take a chance 'cause you might grow
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: 2009 Director of Operations Nomination Q & A, Discussion
« Reply #57 on: October 09, 2008, 09:23:12 pm »
For those of you who know me, most of you know that I am now working full time at Stream.  I have confirmed and talked with HR and my team manager though and my job would not get in the way of performing my duties as Operations Director were I to be chosen.  I actually will have an easier time than most people in the building at having my schedule tweaked a bit to accommodate the meetings due to the contract I'm on being one where I'm not actually on the phones at all.
"Now I'll show you how real vampires do battle!"