Our Director: A Vision for Our Center (New England WSC)

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An introduction to the New England Water Science Center's Director and his vision for the Center.
 

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Length: 00:06:03

Location Taken: US

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Yeah, actually science was something that I discovered a little bit later in life. I do remember two things from my childhood and my early adulthood that kind of steered me toward geology. When I was growing up in Dallas, TX my grandparents actually lived in the Delta region of Mississippi and my grandfather was a farmer his entire life and I remember going
there when I was a kid and riding the soybean levees in his pickup truck and thinking about the water and thinking about the actual needs of the farmer and how that relates to supplying food for the entire nation.

Hi, I'm John Bumgarner. I'm the director of the New England Water Science Center in the USGS. We are part of the North Atlantic Appalachian region. You know, the New England Water Science Center represents the most states of any water Science Center in the nation. We have six states that we service providing science to those communities. The complexity of that really appeals to me. I
find it exciting to think about how do we best serve those communities and how do we pull the science together from what was previously four different water science centers that merged? How do we create a vision for a water science center that services 6 different states and
not be that desperate collection of six different
states trying to figure out how to work them together? So something that we've established our four goals for the New England Water Science Center and those goals are employee
engagement, scientific rigor and integrity, program management, and
program communication and development. They're really... They're equal in their priority except for, you know, they are slightly
higher priority as you go down the list. In my mind, everything starts with employee engagement. If we have an engaged staff that are committed to the work that they're doing and committed to the mission, then we're going to accomplish the mission. Scientific rigor and integrity,
making sure that whenever we produce science, it is of the highest quality. We are the USGS. That is a brand and a commitment to a legacy of highest quality science. Given the incredibly talented staff that we have in New England, we have, you know, career scientists that have been with the survey for over 30 years that are household names in the geological and hydrological Sciences and early
career staff are some of the most talented and enthusiastic that I've seen. So coupling those pieces together, I think that you know we're already producing great science for our communities. I think the Sky's the limit on what we could do. Program management, it's great to have an engage staff and it's great to deliver high quality science. But you also need to
deliver that science on time and within budget. It's all about serving our communities and making sure that we're accomplishing that mission and accomplishing that mission and serving our communities is not just producing the science, but it's producing it in a timely fashion to where it's useful for them. If our science is going to be relevant, it has to be cutting edge. It has to be of the highest quality, but it also has to be delivered in in the time frame that they need to actually make the decisions that they need to make. So that's a big component of that. Program Communication and development, You know, as a musician I often compare this to, you know what's the use in writing a song that you never play for anyone? So we need to make sure that as we're producing our science that we affectively communicate that science to the communities that need to make the decisions. That actually need that science. And then we can identify what what's the next science that they're going to need. You know, where their decisions taking them, and how can we better inform those decisions. Again, USGS, we have no regulatory or management responsibilities. Our sole responsibility is to deliver the science to the people who have those responsibilities
and to make sure that they make the most informed
decisions. I mentioned earlier the mixture of staff
that we have with our really experienced staff that they've been producing science in New England for their entire careers. That mixture of them with our midcareer staff in our early career scientists. That is a really important mixture of
talent and skill sets and
experience. For the long term success of the New England Water Science Center. You know, that passing of knowledge that passing of experience and the enthusiasm and eagerness that's provided by early career staff, it's one of the things that you can really tapped into with the staff and you can really understand whenever you take a look at it. Is that mixture of
experience and talent and skill sets that engagement with the mission itself. And the trust that the staff have with each other. You know, I'm confident there's really nothing we can accomplish.