Oregon Fire Service Office Administrators

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Summary of Conference 2010

Mon, Nov 15, 2010

It’s such a beautiful time of year with the trees changing their colors, the coolness in the air, and snow in the mountains; it's hard to believe fall and Thanksgiving season is upon us already!  When we take time to reflect, we really have a lot to be thankful for.

For me, I am thankful for OFSOA. I’m thankful that such an organization exists to provide training and resources pertinent to my job. I’m thankful for each member that makes up OFSOA and all they do for the fire service, how much they help me and are always there when I need their expertise. I’m thankful for the work they do to put together conferences and workshops so we can continue to learn and excel at our jobs.

At our recent conference we enjoyed a great time of learning and networking. Our first speaker, Kim Lightley, touched our hearts with her account of the Storm King Mountain fire, the loss of her closest friends, and her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. Lessons she learned from her years prior to that day, during the event, and following were shared to better prepare us to help our fellow firefighters, our departments, and ourselves.

Our next presenter was Brain Capp, VP of Marketing with Les Schwab, who helped us explore practices that create a positive work attitude, resulting in exceptional customer service. One of the key characteristics of their company that made them unique was their desire to be extraordinary vs. ordinary in their field. Some of the ways they help their employees be extraordinary is to make sure they know what is expected of them, offer each employee equal and good training, and teach and practice their company values. They also work to adapt to the needs of their customers, and continually train their employees how to better meet those needs. He explained how it doesn’t have to be a big thing but could be as simple as putting the customer’s old tires in a bag before placing them in their car.

Next was Laureal Williams, one of our own and a regular favorite, who is also the Director of Administrative Services for ESCI. During a humorous and informative session, Laureal discussed tools, techniques, and concepts related to business writing. We were instructed on the ever-changing rules and procedures of business English and successful communication.

Barbara Thurman, Attorney and President of Thurman Consulting lead our next session. With her down-to-earth, humorous, and common sense approach, Barbara gave us insight on some of the tough topics in the workplace such as sexual harassment and discrimination. Prevention, understanding of proper conduct, and respect were emphasized throughout the session.

During our session with Chief Michael Sherman, we learned the importance of providing job descriptions that clearly state goals, responsibilities, and duties and then tying the performance evaluation to those job descriptions. These are important tools for fostering positive relationships between management and staff.

On Thursday afternoon, attendees had the option to attend one of three breakout sessions on QuickBooks, Incident Reporting, or our Accreditation Program.

Our conference concluded Friday morning on a fun note with Bill Gallagher coaching us on maximizing our offices ‘personable atmosphere’ by understanding the different personalities in the workplace. By completing our own personality profile and learning the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type, we gained insight and understanding about ourselves as well as our co-workers.

It was a great conference and I'm already looking forward to our next workshop! Hope to see you there. 

                                     ~submitted by Rhonda Grant, OFSOA President


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