Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.
Secretary Salazar called Friday night, at about 9:15. My wife and I were in the den, catching up with one another after a long work week. "That's your phone," Barbara said. I didn't hear anything, so by the time I found the phone, the caller had left a message. "Hey DanAshe, this is Ken." He speaks your full name as if it were one word -- like BobAbbey, JonJarvis or SamHamilton. "Call me. I need to ask you a question."
He was just arriving in the Kansas Flint Hills and had a question about the FWS project there and its relationship to a new NPS visitor center that he was dedicating. He then asked about my week. I told him it was a good one. And it was.
First, a longtime friend and colleague, Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius, began a one-month detail as Deputy Director, filling in for Greg Siekaniec. Tom and I go back, over 25 years, when we were both Committee staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives. Always nice to have another good friend and colleague in the next office over.
On Monday, I did a "State of the Service" webcast. We continue to work with new approaches and technologies to stay in touch with employees. We had more than 600 hookups and many of those were multiple employees, like Region 1, where Regional Director, Robyn Thorson, provided ice cream as an additional incentive for employees to attend. Which was the bigger draw – the Director or the dairy product? It doesn't matter. Robyn understands the importance and power of incentive.
Tuesday, I had a long-planned, one-on-one discussion with the Audubon Society CEO, David Yarnold. It was a real treat to sit for 90 minutes with a great leader from a great conservation organization and partner. David is refocusing Audubon on their core business -- birds -- and we have much in common with our efforts on Strategic Habitat Conservation and surrogate species. Later this summer, FWS, Audubon and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are co-hosting a conservation summit on this subject at NCTC.
Tuesday evening, I headed to Orlando, FL, for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, or ICAST. A great chance to meet with our recreational fishing partners and to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program. Wednesday night I flew back to Washington, DC.
Thursday was one of those days, beginning at 8:00 am, and back-to-back meetings until 5:30 pm. Three Senators, a Congresswoman, a Committee staff director, a scheduling meeting, and a VTC (video teleconference) with Region 8 on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
Friday, I flew to Pittsburgh, PA, for a conservation stakeholder meeting, and to address the annual conference of the National Association of Counties. Maybe the best thing about the week, was that I was home in time for a late dinner with my wife.
"That's your phone," Barbara said.