Valuing King County employees means listening to their concerns and providing opportunities. When employees are interested in advancing their careers, it’s important to be attentive to their needs and together discover a way to address them. The Investing In YOU initiative helps identify the tools and support employees’ needs to innovate, achieve their career goals and ultimately do their best work.
One such employee is Paul Israel, a Parks Specialist with the Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP). Working outside, Paul’s usual duties involve everything from playground installation and culvert replacement, to standard maintenance such as resurfacing regional trails and removing hazardous trees. Recently though, he proposed a video project to Kevin Brown, Parks’ Division Director, and received the full support and resources needed to get it done, creating four successful videos.
“These videos are a valuable source of information,” Paul said. “They present information in a simple, concise way.”
The videos cover topics including an introduction to King County Parks, mower maintenance, volunteering and marketing efforts. The videos will be used to educate employees about their role within Parks Division, as well as help educate the public on the impact Parks has on the overall community.
“We want to provide safe places for the public to recreate, and educate them on the services we provide,” said Paul. “Parks is full of talented employees who stretch taxpayer dollars and contribute to the larger goals we have here at King County, like improving equity and social justice practices and preserving the environment.”
Paul has been with the county full-time for three years. His work takes him all over the county addressing Parks’ needs, and allows him to feel challenged in a positive way. He recently held a Special Duty position as a Communications Specialist within the Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD), where he contributed to articles on the WTD blog and helped to document the restoration efforts at West Point Treatment Plant. After returning to Parks, the video project became an opportunity for Paul to further challenge himself, drawing from his experiences in the Special Duty role and utilizing his background in writing and photography.
“I like to call my job ‘construction in the woods’,” he said. “Every day is different. I’m always picking up new skills that are relevant to my job with the County, and also improve my life outside of work.”
“My education and background push me to solve problems through a communications lens,” he added. “Strong visual content can last for years, be emotionally impactful and serve purposes like training, recruitment, marketing, and motivation.”
As part of the DNRP goal to support employee growth, Bing Subelbia, a Project Manager for Parks, helped guide the project and support Paul by acting as a mentor. Bing oversees the business and programmatic needs of the Operations Section within Parks. Bing notes how well Paul managed everything from start to finish, from research and developing the video scripts, to overseeing production and polishing the finished product.
“Paul’s work on this project was impressive. It was easy to see his dedication in achieving an excellent end product.”
“This project was such a success, it has become the motivation for the creation of a training and resource library for audiences inside and outside of Parks,” said Bing. “Additionally, the resource library will help the division’s Lean efforts by providing employees with access to consistent and supplemental training that we hope will help staff in performing their jobs more easily and improving their work.”
The Division is already planning next steps for 2018. It is working on a communications plan to share these videos and also use multimedia to better engage employees and the general public. It also recognizes that developing employees, like Paul, and allowing them to realize their full potential greatly benefits both the county and the individual.
“I believe this opportunity for Paul really inspired him to do his best and to thrive for an outstanding outcome,” Bing said. “We saw his passion for this type of work, his talent as a writer and his potential to do much more.”
Pictured: Filming the video project
Paul is grateful for the support and trust his supervisors and colleagues placed in him to accomplish this project.
“This experience not only allowed me to use existing skills in a professional environment, but provided a platform for career growth,“ he said.
He appreciates being given the opportunity to use his personal skills to highlight the amazing work Parks performs for the county and the community.
“Our Parks system is unique. It covers a very large geographical area, with numerous programs and work units,” Paul said. “I hope these videos can help employees see how their work impacts their co-workers, the agency, and the public as a whole.”
View the final full-length video titled ‘Introduction to King County Parks,’ below:
View the final video titled ‘Volunteer with King County Parks’ below: