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Welcome to Municipal Operations Management!

We're glad you made it

This series of blog posts, using the analogy of a cross-country trip to describe the implementation of Cartegraph as our operations management system for the Town of Marana, has been an introspective and eye-opening process. Alas, this will be the last post in this series.

I have used this column as a way to think through what we did, the lessons we learned, and what we may do differently, if given the chance. To say I have enjoyed it would be an understatement.So, knowing this is the final entry, let’s see how the finish line looks, as it relates to arriving and then living, at the location of full implementation.

On June 5, 2007, I was driving down I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson. My actual destination was the Town of Marana; a fast-growing, prosperous suburb on the Northwest side of Tucson. I was travelling there alone to scope out what life would be like there. My wife and children would be moving there in July, so I wanted to see it with my own eyes and get a feel for living in Marana. I will never forget seeing the big green sign that read “MARANA     4.”  My final destination, the place where I would start my new career with the Town, was only 4 short miles away.

I remember my heart accelerating when I saw that sign. This was going to be my new home!! Still excited 4 miles later, I took exit 236 and looked down at the temperature reading as I pulled into a convenience store to get a drink: 108 degrees! Welcome home… to the desert, Todd!

I had arrived at my new destination, but had no clue what life was going to be like. I was so anxious to GET here that I hadn’t given much thought to what it would be like to LIVE here. All I knew was that this was the place I wanted to live.

It is the same with creating a fully-implemented operations management system in Cartegraph. You just want so badly to arrive at your destination (whatever that looks like for you in your location) that you do not give much thought to actually living your life there. What is it like? Is it really worth all of the hassle and pain? The short answer is…YES! Though we have not yet attained everything we want, as it relates to our operations management system, we DO “live here” now. 

Within the Public Works and Utilities Departments, we have logged over 30,000 work orders, have inventoried each asset, and are attaching work orders to those assets. Our inventory counts are solid, work processes are smooth and we have successfully implemented all of our major projects. So, we do “live here” now. What’s it like? We love it!

There has been a definite shift in how our departments do business. Efficiency is up, costs are being managed and our Town Council recently adopted our Pavement Preservation Program, which is the offspring of Cartegraph’s pavement view module and the numbers it generates. This year, in Utilities alone, we have $126,000 worth of projects planned through our proactive maintenance approach. Though life is not perfect here, it is without question better than where we came from. Through hard work, a great team of supportive people, pushing through seemingly insurmountable cultural resistance to change and never giving up, we now live in the place of which we once only dreamed.

However, you know how it is in real life; the work never stops, even if you are living in your dream home. The yard still needs to be mowed, (or in the Sonoran Desert where I live, the rock yard needs to be weeded), the washer and dryer will need to be replaced eventually, the kids will still have issues, and the dog will still bite your neighbor or knock down their flowers, etc. In other words, there is still plenty to do as you live life at your ideal location.

So, in closing, if you have arrived…Welcome Home! If not, you WILL get there and it IS worth it. As the French philosopher Descartes once said, “An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?” From my cozy desert “home” in Marana, I sincerely wish you the best as you travel this road. Drive safely, and I will see you there.

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