Friday, February 12, 2010

Week 4

So far Ive had a pretty good week. Last Thursday I went snowboarding for the first time, and it was quite an experience. Luckily my friend Kate and a guy that works for Cleanevent, Adrian, went up the mountain with me and taught me somewhat how to snowboard. It took me three hours to get down the mountain the first time, but the second time it only took me an hour, which was a major improvement. The second time down I started to get the hang of it. Luckily a guy I work with let me borrow his snowboarding gear, so that saved me some money. I definitely had a great time and I am hoping to go again before I leave!

Work has pretty much been the same. I’ve learned a few new thins in the office, but other than that it has pretty much been the same things, time sheets, daily reports, transport, accreditation, etc. We got a new schedule for the office, and I hopefully will get a chance to get out of the office more so than I have in the previous week. Unfortunately, if I do want to go to other venues it will have to be before or after my shifts which means most likely I will have to work 12-15 hour days. I’m not complaining because I am getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

We now have classes incorporated into our schedules, and during our class times we have guest speakers and we get to tour all the venues. On Tuesday I had class and the owner of the company, Paul Lovett, came and spoke to us for a few hours, and then we got to go take a tour of the Athletes Village. The Athletes Village is really cool. There are obviously athletes everywhere which is pretty cool. On the housing in the Village, the athletes have their flags up representing their countries which is pretty neat to see the team pride!

Today is supposed to be my day off but I decided to come to the Athletes Village and get the experience that the others get to work at a venue. They had a parade today and the athletes walked through the village with all their team gear on. The parade was for the athletes as they head off to Vancouver for the Opening Ceremony tonight. Unfortunately it has been a sad day, because of the luge accident that happened at the Whistler Sliding Center. Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia passed away today from the accident, so everyone should keep his family in friends in your thoughts and prayers! Other than the sad news, today has been pretty interesting. I enjoy working at the Athletes Village and I look forward to checking out all the other venues. I think I will be heading to the Sliding Center on Sunday so we will see how that goes. Until then I hope everyone enjoys watching the Olympics!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Week 3

Last week we made our new schedule for work. Starting next week most everyone will work every day at his or her venue. Since three of us have been stuck in the office we get two days out of the week to go to other venues and see what everyone else has been doing. There are two shifts for the office now which are from 5am-2pm and 2pm-11pm. The three of us in the office, Christine, Sarah and I rotate to work different shifts and we each get different days off. With the new schedule I have Thursdays and Sundays to check out other venues and see what everyone else has been doing.

Before we made our schedule I was getting a little frustrated that we hadn’t really had a chance to get out and see the other venues, so I emailed the project manager and asked him if I could shadow him for a day. So this past Tuesday I got to go to Cypress Mountain with Craig Madigan, the project manager, Cypress is about an hour and a half away from Whistler and it is where all the snowboarding events will take place. On Tuesday Craig came and got me around 6:30am to head to Cypress. While driving Craig had a chance to tell me about how he got to project manager and I got a chance to learn more about the business. I found out that Paul Lovett, the owner of the company makes the offer and receives it and then after that he hands the project over to Craig and lets Craig put the pieces of the puzzle together. Craig told me how they make changes in the contracts that are signed and he told me about how contracts can be negotiated and changed. I learned more about what all goes in to project managing and how facility management is different than project managing.

On the way to Cypress it was nice to get a chance to talk to Craig and get to know him a little better and all that he does. Now Cypress hasn’t seen snow in awhile, VANOC has to bring in hay bales to stack on top of one another because they predicted it to snow quite a bit and it hasn’t at all. Helicopters have to pick up these hay bales and place them in the appropriate spots, and then they have to bring in snow blowers and snow from another mountain to put over these hay bales. It has been a tedious process and a costly one at that. Anyways, like I said there has there is normally no snow at Cypress, but Tuesday morning it decided to snow and the crew got a few inches of snow they needed to shovel. Cleanevent is responsible for making sure the bleachers, steps, general walking area etc. is clear of snow. In order to make it easier for the workers, when it snows, there are supposed to be plastic coverings over the bleachers so the snow can slide down them and then can be shoveled at the bottom. The managers got a little too comfortable with it not snowing at Cypress, and they were unprepared for the snow. They didn’t have many of their plastic coverings over the bleachers which what should have been a few hours of work caused them the entire day to do. I helped shovel snow as well as Craig in order to speed up the work that was ahead of them. The reason I’m talking about this is because I got to see how Craig handled himself when there was a problem and I got to see how he, as a project manager, fixed the problem. He was very calm and the manager knew what had happened shouldn’t have and he learned a valuable lesson. On the way back in the car, talking to Craig, he said that he likes it when some of the best managers make mistakes, because now that the manager has made that mistake it won’t ever happen again.

Craig wasn’t above picking up a shovel and helping which is something I really respect. When I was talking to him I told him that I think its good he showed the workers he was willing to help. He then said to me, one should help only so much and then steps back and let them finish the work so he will still be portrayed as his or her boss rather than a worker himself. Anyways the whole point of me telling you about my day with Craig is because I think I learned a lot from him about what a project manager does and not only that but I learned a lot about how a good manager should handle a problem calmly, but efficiently.

Other than my day with Craig I have still been dealing with accreditation. In the office we finally got our phone running to take calls and log them in the system. Any phone call we get about a problem that has come up we must log into the system.

Anyways, work has been great, I have definitely learned a lot and I enjoy getting a chance to learn more about the business. Other than work we have all just been getting a chance to know each other. Whistler is great, but prices are starting to rise now that the Olympics are getting closer. The torch arrives in Whistler on Friday, so I’ll get a chance to go see it at one of the venues. Then next week the games start, which I think everyone is ready for them to start! Athletes are starting to move into the Athletes Village and some of the Bob Sled teams have started practicing. I think it’s all starting to become real!

We have gone out in the village a few times and it’s been lots of fun but as the games are getting closer we are working longer and we all have different shifts, so I imagine once the games start we won’t have too much free time. Tomorrow is one of my last days off so I am going snowboarding with Kate early in the morning. I’m really looking forward to it, hopefully I don’t fall too much! Luckily I was able to borrow a snowboard, boots, pants, etc from some of the snowboarders in camp. Im pretty excited, it should be “good fun” as the Australians would say!