Since joining PEC as its Trails Program Manager at the start of the month, my first two weeks on the job have been both eventful and exciting.
I jumped right into two days of meetings with PEC staff in Pittsburgh to better understand the position’s nuances. The amount of information and reference documents that came my way made me think that I might need to carry an avalanche beacon with me. It was two days of great conversations and future planning.
On Feb. 6, I had the opportunity to see how these conversations help make a difference on the ground when I attended the Northeast PA trails group quarterly meeting. It was a great chance to see the work that local groups and individual volunteers are doing in the Pocono region, even if I did miss the snowshoe hike. It also helped me see how my position can support the efforts of so many on the front line to get trails opened. My goal is to be able to provide the knowledge and resources to remove long term obstacles to the connectivity that we all work for.
Week two began with an office day followed by a trip to Harrisburg for a Water Trails Executive Committee meeting. This group is made up of the agency partners who help the water trails program work toward a true state-wide effort. It was a great conversation about where the program stands and how to best support the hard work of managers on rivers and creeks around the Commonwealth.
After a quick lunch, I hopped in the car to head for Philadelphia, where I had an afternoon meeting with the communication team for the Circuit. I was there merely as an observer, but it was a great chance to see a great team working together on a long-term, large-scale project. The next morning, I met up with my PEC colleague, Tony Spagnoli, for a walk on the Schuylkill Banks and a discussion of the East Coast Greenway. My visit coincided with the launch of the Philly Bike Share program, so we went over to City Hall to see Mayor Nutter unveil the bikes and the name for the program (IndeGo). To see the culmination of years of planning was a great introduction to PEC’s efforts and a great motivator to get going on my work.
The week concluded with a Susquehanna Greenways partnership meeting in Danville, Pa., to lay out the work on the water trails along the Susquehanna and other efforts in the region. Again, the work of the partners on the ground served as a great way for me to frame my efforts at a higher level and as a way to better understand the needs of the community doing the heavy local. I look forward to getting similar introductions to the full breadth of projects I will be working on and look forward to working all across the state!