News & Updates
Year Two at Cowichan Forestry Camp: Western Project Manager Meetings
By Timo Scheiber
At the end of another rainy January, we once again held a gathering of the western leaders on the mossy shores of Lake Cowichan – some 55 field staff in total. Two days of meetings and presentations were followed up with several days of specific course modules: Resource Road light truck driving, OH&S level 1 & transportation endorsement, and ATV operators training.
Dirk Brinkman kicked off the weekend’s events with his “Brilliant Minds” presentation, where he acknowledged planters as the “backbone” of a company that has evolved to meet many current challenges on the ecological landscape. Then we explored some strategic skills training modules, and general industry and season overviews. This year we brought in some outside strategic help; Clee Roy presented on effective risk management and communication and Mike and Jared from Total Physio in Houston presented an invigorating review of physiotherapy solutions for common tree planter ailments.
We continually look to our people for input and feedback to enhance our programs, and this year we have stepped up this process through an online Thought Exchange survey program which went out to all staff members in the fall of 2015. The uptake was phenomenal, and we incorporated the great feedback into the agendas and reviewed the results at our winter/ spring meetings this year. This collective input has been vital to build momentum and inform the models for some of this year’s improvement projects.
Another digital initiative we rolled out this spring was our new LMS (Learning Management System) on-line training and orientation system, which is being hosted by Bridge Systems. We went through an initial beta testing discovery process in the fall (there are hundreds of LMS providers to choose from) and picked a platform that was user friendly and fit our materials best. Matt Robertson signed on as project leader to shepherd us through the build and test phase of this process. It’s been a great group effort, and we’re really excited about the opportunity to deliver pre-season training and orientation that will (hopefully) be more effective, while reducing the time needed for pre-project orientation meetings at the start of each contract.
A few other highlights from the meetings: we substantially reduced both our critical incident rates and our total recovery days in 2015 compared to 2014. Also, last year we initiated a new quantitative and qualitative measuring system to track Health and Safety performance on each project. Overall, there was a significant increase in performance over 2014, which is great news. Our thanks go out to all our field teams and staff for this outstanding result! We celebrated some top performers in this area, so hats off to the teams of Barry Needham, Brian Bullock, Christine Lepage, Erik Brinkman, Jeremy Weddell, Konan Wendt, Kyle Strong, and Liz Rhodes for exceptional OH&S administrative results on some or all of their 2015 projects.
See you out there!