By Olivia Beitelspacher, public affairs specialist
Meet our newest administrative assistant Renee Harmon! Renee discusses her conservation hero and a project that makes her proud. Learn more about Renee in the latest Faces of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service interview.
Olivia Beitelspacher: Welcome to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service! What role do you play within the agency?
Renee Harmon: I am basically an administrative person for the agency. I will be helping the administrators with paperwork and maybe some small projects.
OB: That’s great to hear! What led you to a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
RH: I am an animal person. I’m always watching animal documentaries like David Attenborough’s series called Wildest, and all other documentaries on animal life.
OB: You definitely picked the right agency! Can you tell us where you went to school and for which military branch you served?
RH: I enlisted into the U.S. Air Force back in 1979 and retired in the year 2000. I was a traffic management specialist moving cargo and people. I received my MBA from City University, and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Phoenix. My dissertation was retirement planning, and I studied the savings habits of 10 federal employees from the time they started with the government until they were eligible for retirement. During my doctoral program, I also taught information systems, project management for IT, business design and analysis, and internet concepts and computer survey courses for the University of Phoenix.
OB: That is so impressive! I admire your love of learning. Do you have any conservation heroes?
RH: I love Sir David Attenborough because he has a series on wildlife from every aspect and he so eloquently explains things about wildlife. His voice and knowledge contribute to his success as a conservationist. His documentaries are never boring because he narrates in an effective way that keeps you listening and keeps you interested.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, “For over 60 years, Sir David Attenborough has brought the wonders of the natural world to our screens and into our homes, completely transforming our view of the wild world and inspiring action for our planet's most precious species and fragile habitats.”
OB: David Attenborough it definitely an inspiration! So Renee, can you tell us about a particular project from your career or schooling that makes you really proud?
RH: I am particularly proud of my project to find a way to monitor and keep track of training and travel costs. My administrative assistant was having problems keeping track of the agency travel costs and trainings. She had numerous spreadsheets with different information on everything. I was taking a database class at the time and needed a project. I took everything she had and I developed a simple database that would track the travel and training, and warrant hours and annual registrations for the architects, engineers, project managers. After it was approved it went up on the Oracle Server.
OB: Wow! It’s amazing that your project was able to take something confusing and complicated and make it simple. I’m sure your spreadsheet is helping a lot of people stay organized! How do you spend your free time?
RH: When not working or studying, I enjoy outdoor concerts in the summer, helping my fellow doctoral candidates with their dissertations, and I tutor people sometimes in Microsoft Office. Otherwise, I enjoy hanging around my house watching true crime. I just completed the PMP training and am now taking Quickbooks and MS Office Business Analyst. These courses are provided by Veteran’s Affairs for those of us who would like to be a great asset to any organization.
OB: Okay, last question - Do you have a hidden talent?
RH: I seem to have a knack for putting things together. I enjoy trying to solve problems and find ways to do tasks more effectively.
OB:That is certainly a skill a lot of people wished they had! Thank you, Renee!