August 7, 2020
Update on the Port's COVID-19 response
By Jennifer Banday and Stephanie Riley
Our Frontline Fridays series features Port employees whose hard work and dedication keeps our facilities running safely during challenging times.
Today we catch up with three employees who are working tirelessly to keep our maritime facilities safe, clean, and operational for customers and employees. Thanks to their dedication, the Port continues to safely support our commercial fishing industries, commercial moorage customers, and our recreational boating community.
Most of my responsibilities revolve around the day-to-day operations of the marina. The bulk of my morning is spent unlocking and inspecting essential equipment and making sure we dispose of the garbage that has accrued overnight. Beyond the morning routine, I am responsible for the overall cleanliness of docks and vigilant enforcement of our parking lot regulations.
COVID-19 has changed many of our processes, but most of most of my daily responsibilities have been largely unaffected. Working during COVID-19 has been challenging for sure. I think because our marina is so appealing to pedestrians who like to walk our promenade and look out over the water, we have had to work hard to maintain physical distancing standards.
I love the active nature of my position. I have a wide range of responsibilities, so I get to experience almost every aspect of marina operations. I also enjoy interacting with our customers and getting to know them, as many of them are part of the marina’s liveaboard community.
Because Shilshole Bay Marina has over 1400 boating customers and 350 liveaboard customers, it is like a small community. My job ensures the community’s infrastructure and basic services remain intact.
My biggest motivation is my need to feel normal in this stressful time. Being able to go to work and perform my duties has been very helpful. The customers, as well as my colleagues, have been very supportive and appreciative of the work I’ve done. The most rewarding part of my job these days is receiving appreciation from the customers who realize I am still here day after day performing my job at this level even under the added stress. I am very impressed at how fast staff and customers have adapted to the new changes. It has been life affirming to realize how resilient we are. I really miss shaking hands and having lunch around a large table with my co-workers.
My team manages incoming moorage at Terminals 91, 18, 34, 28 and the North berth of Pier 69, along with all operations at Terminal 91. We receive all sorts of vessels: research, commercial fishing, tugs, and barges; and typically during Seafair, we receive U.S. and Canadian Navy ships. We also lease out yard space and manage some logistics for uplands tenants at Terminal 91.
COVID-19 has added another layer of safety and security to my role, and has forced us all to rethink our protocols and adjust accordingly. In response to this new normal, we’ve taken additional steps to prioritize public safety and employee safety. Before COVID-19, I would meet with customers face-to-face to make sure their needs were met. Now customer interaction is done over the phone and over email. Customers have also requested more secure berths.
What motivates me is being part of a team in a Port line of business that is still generating revenue. It's important that we seek revenue and try to fill some of the gaps that have happened because of COVID-19. Because the commercial fishing industry is such a big part of our community, I'm motivated to help as much as I can. I want to provide a level of service that allows our customers to go out and fish and provide for their families and other businesses in the community.
The overall human spirit gives me hope. It's a tough time and a different time as we respond to COVID-19 and social justice issues, but the world seems to be coming together more. I believe that by coming together we can conquer anything. It gives me hope to see communities working together with solutions-based approaches to the things we're all going through.
Being able to go outside to go to sporting events, hang out with family and friends, and congregate with folks in a safe way.
I help oversee the day-to-day operations of the maritime operations team. We're a small team of four based at Terminal 91 and we're responsible for all the fishing and commercial moorage of Terminals 91, 18, 25, 107, 108 and 28, and Piers 69, 2, 34.
COVID-19 has had a big impact on how I interact with customers. For example, I would normally stop by and say 'hello" to customers in person, but since COVID-19 I am primarily telecommuting and only visit the terminal for specific operational needs. At Terminal 91, normally vendors provide services and repairs to our large fishing catcher-processor fleet. These vessels are typically 250 feet or larger and receive maintenance and repairs while they're at port. This year with COVID-19, most repair work has been reduced to nothing or rescheduled for another time, as vessels follow cleaning standards and quarantine procedures. Additionally, we've seen increased security for vessels where visitors or vendors are not allowed.
I'm finding out that I'm very open to learning new technologies and new ways to interact with people, and that's been a really good thing. For example, I've been learning how to use Microsoft Teams and Zoom, tools that I never used prior to the pandemic. It's a reminder that I'm still able to adapt and change. What keeps me motivated is finding new ways to stay connected with peers and customers, and really start to rethink how we do business with our customers. COVID-19 has forced us to be innovative in how we communicate and implement efficiencies.I feel like I’m making a difference when I hear from customers that my team is still providing excellent customer service and interaction despite being in the midst of a pandemic.
I really miss sports and concerts. I'm really looking forward to being able to participate in those events. I also miss connecting with my team over dumplings – it was our tradition, our chance to take a break and connect.
Check out the other installments in our Frontline Fridays series:
August 7, 2020
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