Author: Michael Shea
Greetings Texas records movers and shakers. I have an announcement – I will be leaving the State Records Center on 4/19 to start a new position at the Texas Workforce Commission. First, it has been an honor to be the State Records Center Manager over the last seven plus years. It is a position that was challenging, interesting, exciting and very satisfying for me. It certainly fed my undiagnosed ADHD, causing me to hop from inventory, to facilities, to invoicing and who knows what else? Before working at the SRC I worked in VARIOUS (Like a lot!) capacities at TSLAC’s Capitol Complex location.
I’m definitely biased, but I think the Records Center is in fantastic shape, and will only continue to improve and evolve under new leadership, and that’s even a stretch! Dee Riley has been working under the title of “Assistant Manager” but her true position was definitely “Co-manager” for the time I’ve been here. So she’s hardly new to running this operation. Dee has a STRONG command of every business function of the center, and has been a part of every change we’ve enacted in the last 7 years, including being a member of the “Core four” a little group of staff that helped develop Texlinx, and continue to administer it to this day. Dee’s experience and determination are unmatched. She will succeed in areas I failed at and will fail at…nothing. If you ask any SRC staffers if Dee will be able to handle things, they will laugh and tell you she already has. Dee’s weakness is obvious to all – she is way too short. She can only reach shelf 4. She just refuses to grow, despite my seven plus years of telling her that was her weakness.
While I’m at it, I might as well talk up the dude one rung up the ladder from me. And yeah, it’s weird to call your boss a dude, even if you are leaving, but Craig is unlike a lot of directors. He laughs with us, and has been known to roll up his sleeves and toss a few boxes around OR come up with an idea to help us meet/exceed our goals. He supports the weird, wacky and wonderful environment of the center. He doesn’t care if we put a meme on his door, or challenge one of his ideas. In other words, it took his faith that we could do this the right way, a way that made work fun, and a way that makes workers feel empowered for the center to thrive. He trusted me to do my job the way I saw fit (WITHIN REASON, I NEVER GOT THE MARGARITA MACHINE OR HELICOPTER!). Folks outside the SLRM family may not know just how much Craig has done to change the culture and improve the efficiency of the records center and imaging unit. It’s because he’s not looking for credit. He’s such a great example for me to follow as I move on to my next adventure. I’ll always call “dad” for help. Thanks Craig!
So, managers are good. Directors are good – but guess what? We only manage and direct. We are not moving boxes, imaging records and making sure all those processes work correctly day in and day out. The crew in the records center side have very difficult and often painful work to complete in the stacks. So, you would suspect we have had a lot of staff injured from work events – lifting, climbing ladders with boxes, lots of equipment and repetitive lifting – but we’ve had almost no back or neck injuries in 7 years. So, I know that isn’t true – because of course these guys have worked through “soft tissue” pain many times just to get the job done. They aren’t looking to get their paycheck, they are looking to earn it. Imaging? Yeah – they went from stuffing paper into microfilm cameras to very complicated digital initiatives, including all kinds of image repair. They restarted our film processing laboratory (Which has allowed us to keep prices down!) They work so hard to make sure the images are clean and useful and can be retained for a very long time.
I am leaving for a promotion and I am excited for my new venture, but the reason I look good to my new employer is because of the diligent and amazing staff at the SRC. My predecessor here had worked at the Records Center for many years and he used to say “I have done every job at the State Records Center, so I know exactly how to fix processes.” Well, I was the opposite – I did none of the jobs at the records center and I had no clue how to fix processes or even that they might need fixing. BUT, what I did have was an experienced and professional staff who somehow trusted me to manage the center. Agency leaders might have hired me, but the staff here allowed me to work with them, to learn their processes and then to collaborate on tweaking them, and improving our services.
I’ve really enjoyed writing these blog articles and reaching out to some customers in this way. It allowed me to show you my goofy side not my super professional, administrative wizard side. (Hint – there is only the goofy side and I fake the rest).
In my new role I will be a Records Management Officer, and I cannot wait to see this place grow, expand and beat all of our RMO expectations. I’m really excited to be a customer and to work with the amazing analysts led by my favorite manager and someone I am lucky to call my friend, Sarah Jacobson. Sarah, I know I am dead to you now, but you will have to remember that I AM THE CUSTOMER AND I AM ALWAYS RIGHT.
Thank you State and Local Records, and thank you Texas State Library and Archives Commission for letting my freak flag fly for the last fifteen plus years.
Disposition Method: Transfer to The Texas Workforce Commission