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VATUSA1 Position DIscussion


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MOD NOTE: New thread from VATUSA1 position posting KWR 810181

 

Excuse my interruption as a member of another very large division. The late Major General Binyamin Peled, IAF commander and great visioneer, once said that commanding officers should be rotated every 6 months, because whatever they hadn't accomplished by that time, they never will. I on the other hand through my command experience found that creative people need time to get windmills rotating, and there is a limit to the number of high priority projects they can initiate and manage consequently. As an appointed Vatsim deputy division director it took me minutes to know what to create and in which priority order, but it would have taken an eternity for the majority of staff and members to see far enough into the future.

 

IMHumbleO, prospective candidates for the opening had better be advised the circomestances which rotated a noticeable number of VATUSA1s lately, I found none in the position definition.

Regards, Opher Ben Peretz

Senior Instructor

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IMHumbleO, prospective candidates for the opening had better be advised the circomestances which rotated a noticeable number of VATUSA1s lately, I found none in the position definition.

 

As far as I'm aware, there was only one VATUSA1 "rotated" lately. Prior to Alex, Gary served for over a year and a half. Prospective candidates are more than welcome to email Alex and ask him why he resigned. I'm not sure why his reasons for resignation would be included in the position definition.

Bryan Wollenberg

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Thank you Bryan,

it occured to me that this position which runs such large organization, would best be manned for longer than a few months.

 

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Chronology depicted above:

15 September 2009- position open

May 2009- position open (message viewed 168 times), Alex Bailey appointed

November 2007- position open, Gary Millsaps appointed

May 2007- position open, Dennis Whitley appointed

February 2007- position open- Matt Temple appointed

 

It occured to me that the next appointee will be the sixth to hold the position in 2.5 years, and that it might possibly not be just Alex Bailey's personal reasons affecting this undesirable discontinuity, which VATUSA members have to live with.

I wish you all much fun and educational success.

Regards, Opher Ben Peretz

Senior Instructor

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Opher,

 

Whilst I'm sure we all enjoy the conjecture and speculation on the part of why a Division Director would resign, ultimately those decisions rest with the individual. Since you're not aware of the duties of the VATUSA Division Director, nor aware of the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated stress and worry that comes along with this specific volunteer position, then I can see why you would be concerned with the turnover rate. People agree to accept staff positions on this network because they believe in the mission and support its direction. Simply put, they think they can make a difference and in doing so they offer their services, time, and dedication. For that, each and every staff member should be praised and given thanks for everything they do. This includes Air Traffic Managers, who I firmly believe do the most work for the ATC side of this hobby. They don't get the credit they deserve.

 

Rather than asking about the turnover or why I (or the others) resigned, I think the best question to ask is, "how can I give back to this hobby and what will I do to make the next generation's experience better than mine?" VATSIM is full of dedicated individuals who have the talent to complete the various projects, duties, etc... The key trick is that some of these are truly diamonds in the rough for two distinct reasons:

 

1) The most qualified and dedicated individuals may not apply

2) The most qualified and dedicated individuals don't get the chance to offer their talent for a variety of reasons, including not being given the opportunity to do the work.

 

I have complete trust in Bryan to select another DD who will take the ball and advance it even further. If he realizes what I did, or reaches the end of his own chain, then he will step down and a new one will be selected. However, that individual will have my complete respect because I will know exactly what he was dealing with. Eventually, you have to call it quits for your own sanity and well being. The environment of the position, even in this hobby, is very political and the individual should be prepared to handle it.

 

I would be more than happy to discuss the details of the position with any potential applicants. Just send me a PM here on the forums. Best of luck!

Alex Bailey

ZMA I-1

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Thank you Alex,

my point should now be clearer:

On the one hand, the job is well defined, tailored for people with 12 months or more with Vatsim, leadership plain and simple. There are no problems and have hardly been any turnover of DDs. On the other hand stress, tasks I can't begin to imagine, the best chosen can't last more than a few months, it is very political. My guess is, political not in the sense of campaigns, rallies and elections, maybe better described with push, shove, pull-down? That is neither fun nor educational, and this my point.

 

Not being privy to BoG and EC executive sessions, I collect weather information on these forums. There is another division, similar in terms of membership, coverage area, traffic, but many more languages, cultures and human backgrounds. Somehow they live coherently, their DD till around a year ago reigned for long, you could find him controlling and flying a few times weekly on top of the call of duty.

It's not only possible, I'd recommend it.

Regards, Opher Ben Peretz

Senior Instructor

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Whilst I'm sure we all enjoy the conjecture and speculation on the part of why a Division Director would resign, ultimately those decisions rest with the individual.

 

That's true, but let me point something out. The fact is that there was an ATM vacancy, and after solicitation of applications the post was filled by the previous holder, and the Division Director and his Deputy both resigned immediately after. Those are the facts, and for every fact there's probably a dozen or so rumors and conjecture. I imagine that at least some of them are true. Such a circomestance is guaranteed to drive away anyone who would do a good job as VATUSA1. Good people don't waste their time and energy stepping into political minefields without authority.

 

This isn't so much directed at yourself as at Bryan, the EC, the BoG and the Founders. The soap operas that seem to surround VATUSA1 are such that good people who may be valuable [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ets to VATSIM at lower levels aren't interested in stepping up because they don't need the grief and don't feel they can accomplish much. VATUSA is broken.

 

Since you're not aware of the duties of the VATUSA Division Director, nor aware of the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated stress and worry that comes along with this specific volunteer position, then I can see why you would be concerned with the turnover rate.

 

I think everyone should be concerned at the turnover rate. And please don't be melodramatic - what "stress and worry" really is there? Anyone with merely a mortgage and/or children has far more to worry about (and far more authority and responsibility) than VATUSA1, and doesn't have a staff of 100+ to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist.

 

For that, each and every staff member should be praised and given thanks for everything they do.

 

That's the problem. We spend lots of time posting meaningless threads in these forums congratulating people on their new appointment in some position or another. We pat each other on the back, and remark how we've picked "the right person for the job". And three, six or fifteen months later, we do it all over again. I told you this a few weeks ago. I never expected to repeat it again so quickly.

 

So let's stop praising and giving thanks. Not because it isn't deserved in most cases (it is), but because we have a much greater management problem on our hands than a lack of appreciation. We have issues with staff sizes, organization, authority, responsibility and turnover. Let's address those, and after a while we can congratulate people on continuity and progress, not a never-ending flow of appointments to positions that I am hard-pressed to identify in terms of necessity and accomplishment by previous holders.

 

Rather than asking about the turnover or why I (or the others) resigned, I think the best question to ask is, "how can I give back to this hobby and what will I do to make the next generation's experience better than mine?"

 

I think the former is an excellent way of accomplishing the latter. To continue Opher's military analogy, the best way to improve the experience for the seventh man I send on a mission is to determine why the first six didn't return.

 

1) The most qualified and dedicated individuals may not apply

2) The most qualified and dedicated individuals don't get the chance to offer their talent for a variety of reasons, including not being given the opportunity to do the work.

 

Thanks for pointing this out. It bears repeating and emphasizing, because VATSIM does a lot of this at all levels. Some of the best people for VATSIM to recruit in leadership positions are those who have had significant experience doing similar work in the real world. The problem is that in most cases, VATSIM provides responsibility without authority or in the worst case, neither. As you said, people want to do meaningful work and make a difference. I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that at any level below that of Founder (or maybe BoG member), it's nearly impossible to do at VATSIM.

 

It's also worth noting that there's a lot of arbitrary restrictions on appointments (or the ultimate in politics, the "closed application process"). VATUSA doesn't need someone with VATSIM staff experience, they need someone who is capable of organizing a group of people and willing to take authority and run with it. I'd almost go so far as to say that zero ATC experience might be not be a bar to a successful candidate, provided they had a clear plan of what to do, the authority to execute it and experience in other leadership positions.

 

But again, it's not a question of finding the "right person". Either we've consistently picked the "wrong person", or the process and structure is broken. How many VATUSA1s do we need to go through before we belatedly discover this?

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Since I'm not in the position anymore, I'll bite

 

The fact is that there was an ATM vacancy, and after solicitation of applications the post was filled by the previous holder, and the Division Director and his Deputy both resigned immediately after. Those are the facts

 

I can't speak for my Deputy Director since I'm not him, but I will say he left for different reasons. Now to fix your statement, I resigned before the determination was made regarding the reinstatement of the ATM and for reasons far removed from that situation.

 

Good people don't waste their time and energy stepping into political minefields without authority.

 

Amen.

 

The soap operas that seem to surround VATUSA1 are such that good people who may be valuable [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ets to VATSIM at lower levels aren't interested in stepping up because they don't need the grief and don't feel they can accomplish much.

 

You're absolutely right, but you might extend the comment to current staff (at all levels) who want out for that reason. I won't comment on your misunderstanding of the staff structure within VATUSA.

 

That's the problem. We spend lots of time posting meaningless threads in these forums congratulating people on their new appointment in some position or another. We pat each other on the back, and remark how we've picked "the right person for the job". And three, six or fifteen months later, we do it all over again. I told you this a few weeks ago. I never expected to repeat it again so quickly.

 

So let's stop praising and giving thanks. Not because it isn't deserved in most cases (it is), but because we have a much greater management problem on our hands than a lack of appreciation. We have issues with staff sizes, organization, authority, responsibility and turnover. Let's address those, and after a while we can congratulate people on continuity and progress, not a never-ending flow of appointments to positions that I am hard-pressed to identify in terms of necessity and accomplishment by previous holders.

 

My true meaning of my comment was that no thanks are ever given when accomplishments are achieved. This is NOT the case, but it almost seems as if the staff members are taken for granted. I repeat, that isn't the intent of the upper ranks, but it sure does appear that way at times. It's an honest [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment. I'm not saying we have to congratulate every new staff member, but let's make notice of the great things they do in their facility, division, region, or even their BoG position. Make notice of the good, and I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure you there will be more interest in the progress of the respective task. It's simple psychology, but usually you only hear about your job when you screw up. It leaves no willingness to continue if only your mistakes are recognized. I think more needs to be done to address who makes the most impact and at least provide some sort of recognition, and I believe this would do wonders if it began at the ATM level.

 

Regards,

 

A

Alex Bailey

ZMA I-1

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I can't speak for my Deputy Director since I'm not him, but I will say he left for different reasons. Now to fix your statement, I resigned before the determination was made regarding the reinstatement of the ATM and for reasons far removed from that situation.

 

Fair enough, and thank you for the clarification. I think you'll appreciate that the three events were sufficiently close together temporally for a reasonable observer to conclude they were related, but if say they're not I'll accept that on its face.

 

I won't comment on your misunderstanding of the staff structure within VATUSA.

 

I am unsure what I misunderstand, and if I have made an error I would again appreciate your clarification and input. All I can do is speak from my perspective, using my experiences. And from this vantage point, I'm unsure what error I've made.

 

From here, I see VATUSA with a divisional staff with a dozen members. You've got a deputy, a training administrator, an events directory, a webmaster a "conflict resolution" manager and a "communications director", plus four regional directors. We then have 22 ARTCCs which each have 5 or more staff members. The point here is that I can't think of a single issue that needs you as a starting point, or cannot be handled by someone else in VATUSA. If being VATUSA1 was causing you worry and grief, or if you needed to be involved in almost everything, then one of three things is possible: 1) you worry too much; 2) you didn't delegate; or 3) there are people not doing their jobs. I'm hard pressed to think of an alternate explanation when you have an organization with so many disparate staff functions and levels of hierarchy.

 

Again, I can only speak from my perspective. I'm used to an organization where we in almost every area we have just one or two people for any given area, and all of us trust each other to deal with things in our areas of responsibility. If I get an HR-related e-mail, I forward it to the parties involved and invariably within a few hours I get a cc of a reply resolving the matter. When it's an area where someone needs help technology-wise to do their job more efficiently, I'm trusted in my area to make the problem go away. And we do all of this with a staff:member ratio approaching 100:1. So yes, I am a little confused when I see all the VATUSA and ARTCC positions and then hear of burnout or Bryan mentioning that the time requirements of VATUSA1 are "vast". If they are, something's being done wrong.

 

My true meaning of my comment was that no thanks are ever given when accomplishments are achieved. This is NOT the case, but it almost seems as if the staff members are taken for granted. I repeat, that isn't the intent of the upper ranks, but it sure does appear that way at times. It's an honest [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment. I'm not saying we have to congratulate every new staff member, but let's make notice of the great things they do in their facility, division, region, or even their BoG position.

 

I understand where you're coming from, but your statement reminds me of a spiel I give to several Delta Virtual pilots every year. At some point when they've been with us for about a year to 18 months, they've p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed all the exams, gotten all the check rides and ratings, and they've been given the rank of "Senior Captain". At that point, I tell them, our organization really has nothing more of value to give them in the form of extrinsic recognition and achievement. Congratulations you've won the game, and now comes the hardest challenge of all - you need to motivate and reward yourself. The greatest people I've found tend to be the most demanding on themselves. Some of our pilots understand this. Others do not.

 

I think if you get to your level you really shouldn't pay much attention to the tone of what people say, good or bad - just whether it's factual. Accurate criticism should be paid attention to, and unjustified praise ignored. But it takes only a minute for me or anyone else to tell you how wonderful you are. Maybe five or ten if one is truly intent on flattering you. Either is much less time or effort than someone logging onto the network for one, two, four or eight hours to control or fly. For several years now, I've looked at the flights and hours logged as a far better metric of whether I am doing a good job than any sunshine I may have blown up my rear. I've been accused of being overly numbers-oriented in the past, but to me it's a far better indicator than praise. Same for you and your successor - the job of VATUSA1 is to make providing ATC services in the United States enjoyable and valuable for people. The more people who find it enjoyable and valuable for longer, the better, and the best praise you can get is someone giving you four hours of their time manning a scope.

 

That's the intrinsic motivation I speak of, and we each find it in different ways. Perhaps a webmaster finds it in hits and downloads, or maybe through recommendations of a service. A training administrator can find validation in the number of people promoted or levels of coverage at a certain level. But that to me is what VATSIM leadership needs to strive for, not praise. (One other thing, which isn't often noted, is that some of the best praise you can give someone in a supporting management role is that every time an issue got delegated to them, it went away and nothing negative was heard. That does get noticed, if not with great visibility.)

 

I think this is a long-winded way of suggesting that if people have the authority to make changes to increase participation and enjoyment and have the perspective to see that as they goal, they don't need trivial recognition. VATSIM has enough problems that truly effective people can get the best kind of recognition, which is being moved into larger roles to solve bigger problems.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Luke,

I doubt it could have been said any better.

 

For graduation, our Flight Academy gave each of us a book, Memoirs of Field Marshal Montogmery, eversince then in 1965 I greatly admire the chap. He was very detailed in describing the continuous non-relenting war inside British miliatry staff at the time he was battling the best desert military commander, Rommel. Still, Monty used to retire early after dinner to his caravan till 0730 the following morning. The direction was that he should be woken up only in a situation where the British were about to lose the war, and by waking him up that defeat would be prevented. A result of proper delegation of authority and responsibility.

Regards, Opher Ben Peretz

Senior Instructor

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So yes, I am a little confused when I see all the VATUSA and ARTCC positions and then hear of burnout or Bryan mentioning that the time requirements of VATUSA1 are "vast". If they are, something's being done wrong.

 

You shouldn't be confused. Surely you understand that there is A LOT to do behind-the-scenes. You would think with the many levels of beaurocracy that Dave Klain would sit behind his desk twiddling his thumbs all day. Ask him sometime how much time he spends just answering emails every day, let along everything else VATSIM-related. Make no mistake, Alex and his staff spent tons of time each day. There was a website that needed to be completely recreated, the entire re-writing of the outdated VATUSA policies, the review and implementation of the new GRP, etc., etc. The list goes on. Having served at the ARTCC level, I can tell you there's a whole lot of work going on there too.

 

Many people don't realize the effort it takes to run the network, which is why the "time requirements are vast" statement is included in the application. If you only have 30 minutes or an hour to spend every day working on VATSIM-related items, chances are it isn't the position for you.

 

In any event, Luke, Opher, I highly encourage either of you to apply for the position, if you think you have ideas that could help VATUSA. Posting military quotes does nothing. Come help us out!

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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Surely you understand that there is A LOT to do behind-the-scenes. You would think with the many levels of beaurocracy that Dave Klain would sit behind his desk twiddling his thumbs all day. Ask him sometime how much time he spends just answering emails every day, let along everything else VATSIM-related.

 

My contention remains - how much of this work is really necessary, and how much can be delegated to others whose stated roles includes these duties? I receive a fair number of e-mails daily, and my involvement is limited to identifying the right person to forward them to. As I said earlier, I can't think of anything that has Alex as its "original jurisdiction", and that extends doubly to David. (I will say that David's role is a little different in that he is the public face of VATSIM leadership, but I don't see that extending to the same level as VATUSA1.)

 

There was a website that needed to be completely recreated, the entire re-writing of the outdated VATUSA policies, the review and implementation of the new GRP, etc., etc. The list goes on.

 

None of this needs Alex or VATUSA1 to take a central role. There's nominally a VATUSA webmaster, training administrator and four regional directors - and a deputy director. If VATUSA1 needs to be intimately involved with this stuff, something is wrong.

 

Having served at the ARTCC level, I can tell you there's a whole lot of work going on there too.

 

And there are over 100 ARTCC staff members across VATUSA. Why should VATUSA1 be intimately involved with what they are doing?

 

Many people don't realize the effort it takes to run the network, which is why the "time requirements are vast" statement is included in the application. If you only have 30 minutes or an hour to spend every day working on VATSIM-related items, chances are it isn't the position for you.

 

I think I understand the spirit in which this was said, but only to a point. It's also valid to question how much effort is truly necessary, at all levels. VATSIM seems to have an unusually large number of levels, and all of their occupants insist that they are overworked and fulfill a critical role. I don't know enough to validate or disprove these claims, but based on my own experience I am highly skeptical.

 

In any event, Luke, Opher, I highly encourage either of you to apply for the position, if you think you have ideas that could help VATUSA. Posting military quotes does nothing. Come help us out!

 

I'd be happy to apply. However, as I mentioned before, the prior history in the role makes me cautious and skeptical. I have a few questions before I do so. First, I have exactly zero hours controlling on the network. I'm not even an S1 (which puts me in an interesting position with my dispatch client, I suspect I'll violate the CoC/CoR if I attempt to test it). I don't believe one needs to be a controller for most VATSIM positions, although others will disagree. Most importantly, do you? If even one minute of controller time is required, no point for me to waste my time.

 

Second, what are the limits of VATUSA1's authority? If he or she wishes to abolish positions at the VATUSA level, is that within the scope of authority? Can ARTCCs be consolidated, or split? Do ATMs serve at the pleasure of VATUSA1, or can they only be removed for cause? I don't raise these points because I have any grand designs on eliminating large swathes of VATUSA or engaging in a Stalinesque purge, but I believe it is legitimate to question to what extent VATUSA1 can effect change, and what levers he or she will have at their disposal. I have no qualms putting my money where my mouth is - provided that there's a reasonable expectation that one can succeed. And as one who believes that the process is partially or wholly to blame, I think it would be unreasonable to take on a role where one could not alter a broken process, if it is necessary.

 

Let me know the answers to those questions. If neither proves an imp[Mod - Happy Thoughts]able stumbling block, I may throw my name in the ring.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Kyle, you read my mind. Thanks man!

 

Luke, thanks for the discussion. You ask some good questions for sure.

 

how much of this work is really necessary, and how much can be delegated to others whose stated roles includes these duties?

 

I'm all for delegating work and responsibility to others. For one, it just gets people involved. But there are certain things that need direct involvement from say USA1. While rewriting the policies can involve everyone (in fact they have, but the fruits of the labor are in staff forums), it's still USA1's ultimate responsibility. Similarly, the GRP revision is my responsibility, for example. I have delegated what I can to the various Division Directors and their staffs (i.e. new training competencies, etc.) but there is still a high level of involvement for me. Everything can't be delegated away. The whole process requires a certain level of involvement. We certainly delegate when we can.

 

And there are over 100 ARTCC staff members across VATUSA. Why should VATUSA1 be intimately involved with what they are doing?

 

I may not have been clear on this. I wasn't saying that VATUSA1 needs to be involved intimately with what they're doing. I was just noting that at pretty much all levels of staff, there is a whole lot going on, with pretty major time requirements.

 

I think I understand the spirit in which this was said, but only to a point. It's also valid to question how much effort is truly necessary, at all levels. VATSIM seems to have an unusually large number of levels, and all of their occupants insist that they are overworked and fulfill a critical role. I don't know enough to validate or disprove these claims, but based on my own experience I am highly skeptical.

 

All valid points. I don't know how much work gets done at every level. I can only go by what people tell me. I know there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on, dozens of emails to answer, etc. Personally, just tonight, for example, I've spent the last 3+ hours responding to emails, making forum posts, and taking care of other division-related items. Spent a couple hours this afternoon doing the same. Already have two phone calls lined up for tomorrow which will take at the least an hour each, have some policies to look at, need to write a few letters to other folk, need to start working on the new major airport list for the GRP, etc. I don't feel overworked and I'm not going to claim to be. It's not like answering emails and such is any sort of strenuous activity. But it all takes time...a fairly extensive amount of time. That's why I list the "vast" time requirement. We're not exactly flying around the world having meetings every day, but all the work does take a decent amount of time to get accomplished.

 

I have a few questions before I do so. First, I have exactly zero hours controlling on the network. I'm not even an S1 (which puts me in an interesting position with my dispatch client, I suspect I'll violate the CoC/CoR if I attempt to test it). I don't believe one needs to be a controller for most VATSIM positions, although others will disagree. Most importantly, do you? If even one minute of controller time is required, no point for me to waste my time.

 

Good question. I didn't realize you had no controlling experience. I don't believe there is any CoR requirement (at least none that I could find) that the position has to be occupied by someone with a controller rating. I had one person who was only a pilot apply last time, but he was eliminated for other reasons. Personally speaking, it would make sense to me that the person should have controller experience. Even at the ARTCC level, how could a pilot effectively run an ATC unit, for example, when s/he has no ATC experience on the network? I'm not going to say it can't be done, but it would make the most sense to have somebody in the position who knows and understands how the system works. I see the same being true at the Division level. While "Division" is all-encomp[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing, and includes pilots/OBS as well, the major role of the Division is obviously administration of ATC.

 

Second, what are the limits of VATUSA1's authority? If he or she wishes to abolish positions at the VATUSA level, is that within the scope of authority? Can ARTCCs be consolidated, or split? Do ATMs serve at the pleasure of VATUSA1, or can they only be removed for cause? I don't raise these points because I have any grand designs on eliminating large swathes of VATUSA or engaging in a Stalinesque purge, but I believe it is legitimate to question to what extent VATUSA1 can effect change, and what levers he or she will have at their disposal. I have no qualms putting my money where my mouth is - provided that there's a reasonable expectation that one can succeed. And as one who believes that the process is partially or wholly to blame, I think it would be unreasonable to take on a role where one could not alter a broken process, if it is necessary.

 

Well...it all depends. I know where you're going with abolishing positions, and this is actually something I have thought about time and time again. If there is truly no need for the position and having it really accomplishes nothing, I'm of the mindset that it should be eliminated. Elimination of bloat and unneeded beaurocracy was one of the major points I covered in my application to the BOG for this position. It's definitely an item of interest for me.

 

As far as consolidating or splitting ARTCCs, the general goal of VATSIM is to provide a realistic environment. We should attempt to simulate that to our best ability. It would be unrealistic, IMO, to have "West Coast ARTCC" covering all the western states, for example. As well, something like ZAU1 and ZAU2 would make as little sense, at least from a realism standpoint. So there are certain things that the DD probably doesn't have much discretion to change. At the same time, I'm also of the belief that just because something has been done a certain way for the past xx years, doesn't mean we have to continue along that path. If the processes and mechanisms themselves are legitimately broken, let's get them fixed.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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Luke,

You comments about delegation are great in the real world with real faces sitting in the cube down the hall. However, in a virtual organization things never mimic the real world however much you try.

 

The issue is herding the cats when a hard decision must be made. An example from the virtual world of VATSIM: say someone sends an email, incorrectly mind you, directly to the President of VATSIM about an issue, and doesn't hear back in a day. Usually, they get pissed off and start threads in the VATSIM forums about how he/she isn't doing their job in a dumb attempt to pressure them to take action. In the background, however, the President has done exactly what Luke suggests and delegates it down. One missed email communication or post in the forums, and poof there's fuel to start a fire. This is a recurring theme over and over and over. Most people who work in a virtual organization, have learned it is easier to nip this in the bud early, however, very often things just slip through.

 

In some cases, clandestine attempts have been made to insert swirl into the system.

 

Mind you, when you are on the staff, you have a tendancy to ignore the swirl because you know what's going on in reality. However, there is still the preception of "pressure". Some folks care a lot and are awfully p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ioniate about this hobby and will literally spend ALL night doing staff work versus playing the game. It basically becomes a second job, and as soon as someone who is clueless starts bitching and moaning, you just tend to get sick of it and decide it really isn't worth it anymore because this isn't really what you signed up for.

 

I think this is the expectation that Bryan is attempting to set. Be very, very sure you understand that if your "delegates" do not perform, you are held responsible and must continue forward at what might be a personal expense of time and even money in most cases. I paid for the VATUSA website for 2 years...no biggie....just an example. Make sure you ask yourself if you are going to be able to sustain that kind of involvement in a hobby for 18 months or longer way after your initial p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ion for the job has left you.

Jeff Thomas

VP-IT

https://joinava.org

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What I hear Luke saying, and he and I have had this talk before, is that in our zeal to replicate the exact structure of the rw FAA in the USA, we may have some people working too much and some not working at all, or much less. I hear him suggesting we may be able to serve both masters if we are clever enough and have the right number of ARTCCs with a slimmer staff to operate them.

 

What I hear Opher saying is we tend to hire technically capable people but perhaps we're not leaning enough into the leadership side. This thought dovetails into Luke's comments as well in that the DDs do tend to do a lot of the work but should they? Maybe a better place for them to spend their time and energy is online either controlling or moving about the ARTCCs that are open and thanking those controllers who are on, answering questions, asking questions, helping build the next great community and features for VATUSA1. I also want to amplify what Opher is saying about leadership capacity; whomever Bryan selects for the next VATUSA1 needs to be a strong leader, one who can plow through the unreasonable dissent that every DD gets handed to them, not take it personal even when others try to make it so, have the conviction their path and methods are sound and lead the organization forward. Not manage it, lead it. I don't know of another military organization that understands the power of true leadership than the IDF/IAF that Opher has been a part of most of his life. The Hebrew expression for "Charge!" translates to "After Me" in English. The IDF has one of the highest officer mortality rates of any standing army. I recommend his thoughts not be dismissed too summarily.

 

We as the leadership of these DDs also owe them a sane platform to do this work; we need to examine the things we have asked them to do and make sure we're not overloading them and give them some prioroties to operate within. I'd rather they get 1-2 things right in a well supported environment than have a laundry list of wants which none of them get done. It becomes quickly a question of organizational capacity; if we hire leaders with low capacity, regardless of how good they are with web sites, we will get low output. For me, I am far more impressed by our leaders who can get things done, not do them themselves. DDs, and above, should be spending a lot of time mentoring and growing the next generation of leaders; find them, grow them, build them up, so when the openings come we have a pool of good folks to choose from.

 

Luke's question about not being ATC himself. GRP makes a good example in that without an ATC background a lot of the nuances will be missed, not that you can't get educated. Lke, if you are serious about throwing yoru hat in, and really anyone, I recommend you be able to talk GRP to other ATC credibily and can represent the vast range of opinions about GRP, yet implement it nevertheless, understanding change management and using appropriate tools. Grab any four TAs from the 22 ARTCCs and ask them about GRP; be sure to have a sharp pencil handy.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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We as the leadership of these DDs also owe them a sane platform to do this work; we need to examine the things we have asked them to do and make sure we're not overloading them and give them some prioroties to operate within. I'd rather they get 1-2 things right in a well supported environment than have a laundry list of wants which none of them get done. It becomes quickly a question of organizational capacity; if we hire leaders with low capacity, regardless of how good they are with web sites, we will get low output. For me, I am far more impressed by our leaders who can get things done, not do them themselves. DDs, and above, should be spending a lot of time mentoring and growing the next generation of leaders; find them, grow them, build them up, so when the openings come we have a pool of good folks to choose from.

 

I am with you on this. I make every effort to delegate tasks out, as running even a small Division can be a huge task.

Best Regards,

Thomas Mathieu

VATAME1 Region Director

VATSIM Africa Middle East

http://www.vatame.net

[email protected]

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Luke, You comments about delegation are great in the real world with real faces sitting in the cube down the hall. However, in a virtual organization things never mimic the real world however much you try.

 

I completely disagree, based on my own experience (in an organization that is older than VATSIM). Certainly the means of motivation are different, but in some respects they can be far more powerful. I do what I do in my hobbies because of love and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ion; there are days when the only reason I'm in the office is to collect a paycheck. My experience in the past four years at my current job and the last four years at DVA has been that I have a much lower chance of delegating successfully when doing so to people in "the real world".

 

I don't think that it's valid to claim some sort of exceptionalism because VATSIM is a hobbyist organization. If anything, we bring in p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ionate people who can generate better results.

 

The issue is herding the cats when a hard decision must be made. An example from the virtual world of VATSIM: say someone sends an email, incorrectly mind you, directly to the President of VATSIM about an issue, and doesn't hear back in a day. Usually, they get pissed off and start threads in the VATSIM forums about how he/she isn't doing their job in a dumb attempt to pressure them to take action. In the background, however, the President has done exactly what Luke suggests and delegates it down. One missed email communication or post in the forums, and poof there's fuel to start a fire.

 

I think this is a fair bit of hyperbole. Go through these forums for the last few days, weeks or months and count how many times this has occurred. (Go ahead, I'll wait.) It doesn't. Now I'd imagine that there are more than a few posts through these forums about people complaining about people doing the wrong thing, or focusing on the wrong things, or having the wrong philosophy or principles. But I'm hard-pressed to remember posts complaining about a non-response from a BoG member about a trivial matter. (Maybe that's because they're very busy responding to trivial matters themselves, but I hope not.) Of course, since you brought it up, maybe David can look at my e-mail a few weeks ago about software licensing.

 

It basically becomes a second job, and as soon as someone who is clueless starts [Mod-You kiss your mother with that mouth?] and moaning, you just tend to get sick of it and decide it really isn't worth it anymore because this isn't really what you signed up for.

 

Children are interesting creatures. It's a good thing that a newborn is so small and weak, because I'm convinced that they have the mental capability (or lack thereof) to beat you to death simply because you're 10 minutes late giving them a bottle. I don't mind too much when my daughter does it because I recognize that she is unreasonable, and the lack of reason from her doesn't bother me. I simply don't take unreasonableness personally. I've received plenty of e-mails over the years telling me how awful I am in my forum moderation policies, my software is awful, the web site is ugly and heavens knows what. If it's factual, I pay attention. If it's not, then they're being unreasonable. Complaining about insufficiently fast responses is usually unreasonable, and I don't let unreasonable people bother me. That might be why I've been doing this for almost a decade.

 

I think this is the expectation that Bryan is attempting to set. Be very, very sure you understand that if your "delegates" do not perform, you are held responsible and must continue forward at what might be a personal expense of time and even money in most cases.

 

I'm personally aware of that. As our my delegates, and the people who delegate to me. That doesn't stop us from continually trying. Some times we get the right person and they work out really well. Other times, less so. It doesn't change the fact that we should keep trying to do this. Good organizations attract good people, making delegation easier.

 

I paid for the VATUSA website for 2 years...no biggie....just an example. Make sure you ask yourself if you are going to be able to sustain that kind of involvement in a hobby for 18 months or longer way after your initial p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ion for the job has left you.

 

I paid for our bandwidth and server hardware upgrades for four and a half years. And then I went delegated the job to a self-sustaining organization that has been regularly turning away donations for several years now. I'm now in my ninth year with that same organization. I understand first-hand the challenges of long-term commitment. It doesn't frighten me.

 

What I hear Luke saying, and he and I have had this talk before, is that in our zeal to replicate the exact structure of the rw FAA in the USA, we may have some people working too much and some not working at all, or much less. I hear him suggesting we may be able to serve both masters if we are clever enough and have the right number of ARTCCs with a slimmer staff to operate them.

 

Absolutely. From observation, we have some disparities in service levels between the ARTCCs in terms of process, and the services they offer to pilots and controllers. We shouldn't try and create a staffing model that [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umes rough equivalence between areas until we actually achieve that. Until then, we should seek to leverage the stronger groups to provide support and effort at a broader level than they currently do; beyond the ARTCC level, maybe at the regional or Division level. Let's seek to lend a hand across the Division just like we have controller teams for larger events.

 

I'll confess that I'm a great believer in technical consolidation and centralization. Technical folks are in short supply everywhere; it simply doesn't make sense to duplicate scarce talents into little cottage ARTCC web sites, when VATUSA and VATSIM as a whole could use them. Let's take talented people and bring them to a wider stage.

 

Maybe a better place for them to spend their time and energy is online either controlling or moving about the ARTCCs that are open and thanking those controllers who are on, answering questions, asking questions, helping build the next great community and features for VATUSA1.

 

This is a good point. VATUSA1's most important role is IMO to set what values are going to be emphasized within the Division, and encouraging and nurturing the next generation of people who will continue those values. I think we can't emphasize enough the need to question what we have. I don't think we've promoted technically proficient people too much. Rather, I think we've promoted people who work effectively within the existing system because they fundamentally accept it. That's a great thing to do when you a system and model that works. There are some ARTCCs and VAs that have that, and you can see turnover there which is regular, benign and healthy. It's not burnout, explosions or purges; it's just changing the horses after a year or two, and you know the horses will still be around once they step back and recharge for a bit. However, if the organization isn't healthy, is this really a good model? Or are we merely doing nothing more than ensuring that a poor model will be perpetuated?

 

Luke, if you are serious about throwing yoru hat in, and really anyone, I recommend you be able to talk GRP to other ATC credibly and can represent the vast range of opinions about GRP, yet implement it nevertheless, understanding change management and using appropriate tools. Grab any four TAs from the 22 ARTCCs and ask them about GRP; be sure to have a sharp pencil handy.

 

I'm certainly game to ask if someone else is to answer. GRP is just one of many things I have questions about. Some are quantitative, others qualitative. I hope they've been answered before, and someone needs to forward the answers. If they haven't, I think it's of value to ask and answer them, no matter who VATUSA1 will be and his or her agenda. Whoever applies, I think it's critical that they have an agenda and that involves a departure from the status quo.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Thank you alex and alan for the work you guys did get done. Sorry to see you guys get blown off those positions, be it personal or not. I'd have to say you guys got a great deal completed in the short time you were there. The website is a perfect example of accomplishments. Thank you for the work you did get done. Let's hope the next guy can do the same.

 

Folks, speculation is pointless. Posting here doesn't fix anything, you only make it worse. Apply for the Vatusa1 spot or move on. There's nothing to see here...

Tyler Walton - (C1)

-vZKC Facility Engineer

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Thank you alex and alan for the work you guys did get done. Sorry to see you guys get blown off those positions, be it personal or not. I'd have to say you guys got a great deal completed in the short time you were there. The website is a perfect example of accomplishments. Thank you for the work you did get done. Let's hope the next guy can do the same.

 

Folks, speculation is pointless. Posting here doesn't fix anything, you only make it worse. Apply for the Vatusa1 spot or move on. There's nothing to see here...

 

I wouldn't say anybody was blown off of the positions. There comes a time when a person must decide to move on and forge another path, which is exactly what has happened here. I'm very happy to have completed what I did, surprisingly I fulfilled every goal that I stated in my application and interview process which made it easier for me to step aside. I had planned to be in the position for a long time, but eventually the p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ion that I had when I accepted the position was no longer there.

 

Most importantly, the position ushered in an opportunity for me to develop a couple friendships that I probably wouldn't have made otherwise. The decision for me to step down has also allowed me to get back to doing what I love the most on this network.

Alex Bailey

ZMA I-1

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Folks, speculation is pointless. Posting here doesn't fix anything, you only make it worse. Apply for the Vatusa1 spot or move on. There's nothing to see here...

 

As original poster, I wrote because I had an impression that politics and powerplay were strong drivers of many things. For example, RD mentioned one quick reshuffle of DD, I found 6 DDS in the last 2.5 years (including the next), that is no small thing. Many threads address Vatsim management issues, and rightfully so, this is an important use of the forum. I agree with you about the resultant impact of these postings though, which is why I wouldn't consider applying. A free market tends to yield better results than a centralized economy.

Regards, Opher Ben Peretz

Senior Instructor

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Good comments and questions folks

Any position running anything takes a certain amount of dedication to see it through. In the case of DD, the job is larger than just keeping the ARTCC's running, it also involves buying into the grand scheme of where the network is headed. Call it politics if you wish, it is in a sense, but not like we know from our world leaders. This network as always been driven to keep things fun while being as realistic as possible. That balancing act causes many headaches for all sides of the leadership, how do we keep remembering this is a game, when it is such a huge undertaking to operate this place.

The leaders we have and have had were mostly just devout hobbyists who wanted to give back to the place where we all spend our free time. That the jobs have grown harder is just a product of us trying to make things better by understanding what our "customers" want and expect from us. I have worked at the ARTCC level as well as the EC level, and I'll tell you the job is mostly the same, but the larger your area of responsibility the bigger the workload. Delegating responsibility is ideal, but the name on top is the one who answers to all ills and atta boys.

 

We have been lucky to have had a few great leaders here, but the shortest lived DD's still moved us forward in one way or the other. I'm sure Bryan remembers being an ATM and working on the first GRP with Gary, me and a couple others, and even that little bit of work ate our time up.

 

I for one have great respect for everyone who tries to help out our hobby, everyone is welcome to try it here unlike the real world.

Karl Kleiber

North American Deputy Director

 

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