A Year in Review

By: Brie Matier, Operations Manager

I can’t believe it has been over 1 year since we made the move ALL the way across Summerland to our brand new office. So much has happened and we have had so many changes it’s hard to know where to start. Last January, 2015 we acquired a 5-year lease for a street front office in downtown Summerland, BC. The space had been home to a number of other local businesses that had cycled through over the years, so when we signed the papers, we were committing ourselves to a renovation undertaking of epic proportions!

As our clients and family will know, February and March signals crunch time as we race to complete projects for federal year-end deadlines. So naturally, that was a perfect time to start tearing down and putting up walls in a new office and start planning our move for April 1st !

Our new office features a full kitchen and lounge area for staff to enjoy their lunch and breaks. The addition of a stove to our office lead to the invention of Soup Club, where employees take turns bringing delicious soup creations for lunch to share each Thursday.

Functionally, we have work areas designed to promote a collaborative team environment for both sorting staff and taxonomy staff. On a given day walking into our office you’ll hear the comedy or intrigue of an audio-book that our sorting team enjoys listening to while they pass the time processing samples. On the other side of the lab our taxonomists have their own meeting room where they hold weekly discussions on recent taxonomy literature. This year their special focus has been on family Baetidae!

Beyond the workstations, we installed 5 washing areas for sample processing, 2 industrial-strength vented areas for working with formalin samples, and a large storage room for sample housing. We also purchased microscopes and supplies for 2 additional sorting stations and a workstation for a new taxonomist.

We learned a lot through the renovation process like the importance of good staff who are willing to be flexible and who are able to get stuff done even during times of organized chaos. We also learned the importance of good suppliers to work with. Our thanks to: TOPS Telecom (Kelowna BC); Northern Computer (Kelowna BC); Kelowna Website Design (Kelowna BC); Martens Electrical Contracting (Summerland BC); Summerland Builders Mart Ltd (Summerland BC); McCully Plumbing (Summerland BC); Source Office Furniture (Kelowna, BC); Fehling’s Sheet Metal Ltd. (Penticton BC); Summerland Glass and Mirror (Summerland BC) for their support and services during our move and renovations.

Being able to start our 2015/2016 season with a fully equipped, custom designed office was a huge asset this year. In August 2015 we hired 6 new sorting technicians, the samples started pouring in, and the race was on!

I’m incredibly happy to be sitting here in the second week of April able to boast that we have successfully delivered every project this year at or ahead of deadline. I’m incredibly proud of the hard work our team has put in, and their dedication both to getting the work done and to completing the work with the highest level of quality and care. Our employees have given up many of their evenings and weekends to help us hit our targets and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their commitment. So a big thank you to our taxonomy team, Scott, Adam and Rita and to our sorting team, Claire, Melody, Darcy, Tiffany, Jena, Rebecca, Deb, Chelsea, Paula – and of course Kevin!

In January 2016 we held our first open house for close friends, community members and nearby clients – to showcase our new space and to give staff an opportunity to share with friends and family a little more about what we do. The support we got from the community was overwhelming, and we had such a great time I think we might need to find things to celebrate more often.

Entering into our summer season this year we breathed a collective sigh and shared a round of high 5’s. Summer is always bittersweet as we say goodbye to some of our sorting staff and release them to suffer the agony of Okanagan beaches, sand, sun and wine tours while a few of us stay behind to process the remaining summer samples and do our lab clean up. Our taxonomists spend their summer hours honing their skills on different taxa and attending conferences. Brie and Scott will be attending the CABIN field course this summer and Scott is headed to Long Beach and Sacramento California for taxonomy conferences. Rita and Adam are working on readings in freshwater ecology as well as re-examining and expanding on our in house reference collection.

Beyond our professional development this summer, staff will look forward to our Friday lunch-time BBQ’s in the backyard and some well deserved holiday time!

I couldn’t conclude our year in review without sending my gratitude to our clients. Thank you for your continued support and for continuing to place your trust in us. You make our progress possible!

From all of us at Cordillera Consulting ~ have a great summer!