|Brooks Trammell (center) accepting his Employee of the Quarter award from OCC Chairman Deanna LeGrand (left) and OCC Executive Director Trey Lam (right)
Employee of the Quarter: Brooks Trammell
In order to understand why Brooks Trammell deserves to be recognized, please bear with the lengthy metaphor, which will at least be related to conservation. Most of us are probably familiar with the ecological concept of keystone species; these are species on which other organisms largely depend, and if removed would cause drastic changes to the ecosystem. An example is the sea otter. Sea otters are vital to sustaining the Alaskan kelp forests that host a vast diversity of aquatic life. What makes sea otters so special is that they eat sea urchins, voracious herbivores, which left unchecked will completely defoliate these kelp forests. Now if you’ve ever seen a sea urchin, this appears to be a rather unpleasant task because sea urchins are surrounded in hard spines.
In this metaphor, “eating sea urchins” is completing the myriad tasks that are essential to sustaining a “kelp forest” or functioning office, but are not directly related to the goals of a program or a project. “Eating sea urchins” is paying phone bills, processing requests for acquisition, tracking project budgets, making hotel reservations, ordering supplies, mediating work groups, buying fire extinguishers, cleaning out storage units, you get the picture. So many of the employees of this agency eat these “sea urchins” daily, so we can more easily carry out the mission of conservation in this state.
But the OCC would like to acknowledge one person in particular who has recently eaten a lot of these “sea urchins." Brooks Tramell’s official title is the rather long-winded, Director of Monitoring, Assessment and Wetland Programs. But even that lengthy designation doesn't really begin to capture all that he does for this agency. With the recent changes to our human resources and financial departments, Brooks has taken on so many new duties there is not a job title long enough to summarize them all.
Brooks is always willing to help his coworkers and take on new responsibilities in order to advance the goals of our agency, even if it takes him away from the project work he enjoys. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that he manages to be successful in such diverse job duties. He has a way of figuring things out quickly and getting to the truth, critical skills in both science and management. Brooks is hardworking, honest, thoughtful, insightful and dedicated. He deserves to be recognized for all the work he has done during this transition period, to help our agency or “kelp forest," in this now labored metaphor, thrive.