Marine employees rescue kayaker off Alki Point

WearItKingCountyEmployees from the Department of Transportation’s Marine Division recently rescued a capsized kayaker in the water about a mile off Alki Point, bringing him to safety aboard their Vashon Island ferry.

On Friday, March 13, 2015, Captain Frank Massaro and Deckhands Joe Chrisman and Scott Denhart, were operating the M/V Melissa Ann serving the Vashon Island route. After departing Vashon Island at approximately 5:58 p.m. bound for Seattle, the crew on the bridge noticed something in the water approximately one-half to three-quarter miles away. They slowed the vessel and looked through the binoculars and determined that there was a person in the water who was waving and appeared to be clinging to a capsized kayak without a life jacket. They immediately notified the other crew on board to announce there was a person in the water and they would be picking the person up on the starboard side of the vessel. Coast Guard was notified of the situation while en route to rescue the stranded kayaker.

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Singing employee brings unique voice to construction projects

When Patty Overby isn’t managing construction projects, she’s often singing in an a capella, barbershop chorus.

“I think it makes you a better rounded person – for me it’s a big stress reducer and it’s a positive influence. It’s another opportunity to meet new people who are doing different things,” Overby said.

A  Project Manager in King County’s Department of Transportation, Design and Construction Section, Overby has worked at the County for more than 35 years. Overby has been singing all her life, but six years ago she decided to give the Voices Northwest Chorus a try.

Patty Overby

Patty Overby (second row, fourth from left) singing at the Mill Creek Art Walk in 2014.

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Tony Wright appointed Director of Facilities Management Division

Tony Wright has been selected as the new Director of King County’s Facilities Management Division (FMD).  FMD is charged with providing clean, safe, secure, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective facilities for King County and the public.  FMD is also responsible for designing and managing capital construction projects that are responsive to customer needs.

Wright has served as interim director of FMD since October and has demonstrated strong technical knowledge, professionalism and innovative leadership during that time. He joined King County in May 2014 and was responsible for managing high-profile, complex projects involving multiple King County agencies. Prior to working at King County, Wright was a Vice President of Normandeau Associates in Seattle, where he was responsible for strategic planning as well as day-to-day operations of this environmental consulting firm.

Wright served as an officer in the United States Army for 30 years and was responsible for complex engineering and construction projects including the repair of the Howard Hanson Dam that protects the Green River Valley from flooding.  He has a Master’s Degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology.

Wright will begin his new role on March 16, 2015.

Kudos! Michael Gish, Metro Link Light Rail Operator

This is a commendation for the motorman on a Link Light Rail train and the security personnel at Westlake Station.

The particular train arrived northbound at Westlake Station at about 11:20 PM on January 30 and left southbound at about 1:40. After leaving the station and heading to my apartment on First Hill, I realized after a couple of blocks that I had left my backpack on the train, which also had the keys to my apartment.

I hurried back to the station and contacted security.  They outlined the “lost and found” procedure, which appeared to be of little help.  They also suggested we check with the motorman of the next southbound train, which likely was the one I was on northbound, since the motorman might have found the backpack in his check of the train.  They walked me down the platform and we waited at the point where the first car would stop.

Happy ending – the motorman had my backpack, which I described.  He had me fill out a slip and turned it over to me. 

I am now home – safe and sound, and thankful. I also commend the training and client service structure that allowed the personnel involved to be responsive effectively to my need, rather than be encumbered by strict procedures.  

Thank you. David S.

Five Questions with Jim Chan, Assistant Director for Permitting, Department of Permitting and Environmental Review

Jim Chan1. What was your first role at King County? I was hired as a summer intern in my junior year at the University of Washington, working for the Building and Land Use Department as an Engineer Assistant. I reviewed residential building permit applications, drove throughout the county visiting development sites and met with property owners and consultants.

2. Why did you choose King County as an employer? While a student at the UW, I worked for a professor making $4.50 an hour counting cars on overpasses. The Building and Land Use Department was located two miles from my parents’ home in Bellevue. A phone call landed a summer internship, later a part-time job which became a permanent hire after graduation.  Engineering was my degree and focus. The work location was close to home at the time. A third of the work was outdoors away from the office. Many of my co-workers were also recent hires out of college and we bonded outside of the workplace. It also paid significantly more than the UW.

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ADR launches Conflict Clinic Online

Conflict ClinicGot conflict in your workplace? The King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) recently launched the Conflict Clinic blog to help you work through it. They post weekly tips and tools for shifting destructive conflict into a creative force for stronger relationships and better results.

“Instead of avoiding difficult conversations for fear things will just get worse, or lashing out at others, you can read the blog for practical approaches to engage others in conversations that matter,” said Doug Nathan, a mediator with ADR and a writer and editor for the blog. “And if you have a question about conflict in your workplace, you can ask it through the Conflict Clinic site and look for a reply in an upcoming post.”

With four staff members and 100 volunteer-mediators, the Office of ADR offers face-to-face mediations, trainings, and group facilitations. They developed the blog to extend their reach online and make their content as accessible as possible for employees countywide.

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Kudos! Kyle M. Gulke, Metro Transit Operator

Good Morning, This message is overdue by a couple of weeks, and I apologize. But I want to make sure that this bus driver gets kudos. This happened on January 30th, 2015. His name is Kyle, and he was driving bus number 9540z (not sure if there was a z on the end of that number or if I accidentally hit it when putting it in my phone). It was the 522 bus at 7:58am south bound on the Bothell Way and 153rd St in Lake Forest Park stop.

This was a stressful day for me, as it was the day before my birthday, and I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and was on my way to go have a consultation with the surgeon up on First Hill. I decided to take the bus instead of trying to drive downtown.

I had already just missed the bus I intended to take, and I was feeling flustered as I don’t know the bus system well, and was unsure of which was the next best bus to take. While I had my smart phone, I was not fast enough with it, and was worried that I would miss the next bus I needed to catch. I could not be late for this appointment, and was on the verge of tears when Kyle’s bus pulled up. I knew enough to know that the 522 went downtown, and decided to get on and figure it out from there.

When I stepped on, Kyle, with a genuine friendly smile says “Good Morning! Welcome to the bus!” Relief washed over me as I could tell immediately, that this was a friendly face that would help me sort things out. And that he did! He helped me get where I needed to go, but more importantly, when he found out I was going to the Swedish Cancer Center, he shared that his good friend was going through the same thing and offered some great advice. We parted ways with him genuinely and warmly telling me good luck and wishing me the best. I don’t know if I will ever be lucky enough to have Kyle as my driver again, as I’m not sure they always have the same route and my appointment times vary. But I do hope our paths cross again. And I hope I have provided enough info for you to know who he is. He deserves recognition for sure! He filled my very stressful morning with compassion and kindness, and I have never been so grateful to have missed a bus! Thank you Kyle for being the angel that saved my day!

With much gratitude, Kathleen C.

Trailblazing carpenter wants more women to follow in her footsteps

Linda RomanovitchWhen Linda Romanovitch joined King County 30 years ago she didn’t consider herself a trailblazer but she unwittingly broke through a barrier that would make it easier for other women to follow in her footsteps.

Linda became King County’s first female carpenter on December 4, 1984. Her interest in carpentry grew while helping her grandfather, also a carpenter, complete odd jobs. At 22 she joined an organization in Seattle that helped women and minorities become successful in the trades and she completed a six-week pre-apprenticeship. She went on to complete a full carpentry apprenticeship and in 1978 she worked on the first remodel of Seattle’s Uwajimaya store.

Being the only female in a mostly male field was rough at times but she had a secret weapon that helped her get past workplace difficulties. “My best defense was to respond with humor,” Linda said.

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Official launch of KCWeb & roadshow – Feb. 26, 2015

King County’s new KCWeb Intranet will officially launch on Thursday, Feb. 26, and we will be celebrating with a traveling roadshow, an online treasure hunt, prizes and giveaways to help you get to know your new one-stop shop for employee news, information and the tools you use every day.

Join us from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, for live demonstrations of the new KCWeb, tips and giveaways in:

  • The Chinook Building lobby
  • King Street Center lobby
  • Administration Building 5th floor lobby.

If you can’t make it to one of the roadshow locations you can participate in an online treasure hunt and enter to win great prizes.


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Kent Public Health is a design winner

ThKent Public Healthe new Kent Public Health Center received a national design award in the 2014 International Interior Design Association Healthcare Interior Design Competition.

The IIDA presented nine awards, including projects at major institutions in New York City, Cincinnati and Los Angeles. Designed by Buffalo Design, in collaboration with Public Health an the Facilities Management Division (FMD), the Kent project was the only winner in the Northwest.

In addition to winning the IIDA award, it’s important to note that this and other projects, managed by Public Health and FMD, achieved goals set forth by the King County Strategic Climate Action Plan including reducing the amount of energy use, maximizing recycling, and implementing the latest green building and sustainable development practices. The Kent Public Health Center and other facilities each achieved the equivalent of a Gold level ranking. They also completed these projects significantly under budget.

Find out more about all the IIDA winners here.


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