Director’s Blog 2/17/20

Directors Blog Feb, 17,2020

Written by Ian Billick, PhD

Brett Biebuyck starts as Director of Administration April 1, reporting directly to Kelly.  Brett and his family (his wife Leah Swasey has taken a job as a nurse at the Gunnison hospital and they have 2 younger boys) are moving from Fairbanks, AK where Brett was the Associate Director of Operations and Finance for the Toolik Field Station.  He oversaw staff, finances, and operations and served on the management team, serving as co-PI on Toolik’s $17 million cooperative agreement with NSF.  In his 15 years he helped Toolik develop winter operations on the North Slope of Alaska (think ice road truckers), a highly successful Title IX program, and a centralized online portal to make working at Toolik easier for scientists.  He is Vice President of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.

Katie Harper starts as our Admin Coordinator Feb. 24, replacing Samantha in the front office and reporting to Brett.  With a degree in hotel management from Oklahoma State Univ., she has been working with a local property management company.  After 5 years with the Department of Defense and NATO she is looking forward to working with scientists [Image result for ben calvin RMBL] from all over the world.

Ben Calvin started last fall, which makes him feel like an old-timer!  A river rat with a degree in accounting, economics, and business administration from Western, he had been working for the country’s largest accounting firm specializing in nonprofits.  After some time in Idaho he and his wife wanted to get back to Gunnison County.  We originally hired him to replace Samantha, but when Matt Boyle’s previous employer lured him out of our development office, we decide to reorganize multiple positions.  Ben is going to be focused on RMBL’s finance, development, and admin databases, including financial reporting.  Katie, with her strong background in customer service, will focus on interacting with the public, with an emphasis on students and scientists.

Rick Horn, who has been running the Visitor’s Center for five years and in a prior life had a career opening restaurants, will oversee the dining hall, also reporting to Brett.  While Rick hasn’t worked out all the staff, we expect some familiar faces cooking meals next summer (including James Brown, godfather of good gothic meals)!  The Visitor’s Center will be handling check-in for students and scientists at 7 days a week (details to follow as we get closer to summer).

By November 2020 we plan to implement a new online system for managing stays, a recommendation from Dr. Will Petry in response to one of my first director’s blog posts.  Our goal, both with this system as well as with the staff changes above, is to make coming to RMBL easier for scientists and students, freeing up time from paperwork to connect with you as individuals and to help you in more interesting ways.

It is a lot of change and we anticipate some confusion as the new staff learn RMBL, and the long-time community members learn new ways of doing things.  Katie, Rick, Brett, Kelly, and I all look forward to spending more time with you next summer, and helping you have a great and productive time!  We appreciate your patience (thanking you in advance) as RMBL continues to adapt!