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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:35 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3592
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
p51 wrote:
Another aspect, which is actually very common in the aviation preservation field, is that the people in charge do not understand that unless you are a retiree, your job won't give you much time off.

- - -
That is not something that's going to change, as the nature of where I work, as well as many other companies, is to keep people at the job because they have grossly understaffed for the mission at hand. That is just the way employers are going these days, and you're not going to be able to get a lot of volunteers to show up, unless it's on the times they normally are scheduled to be off.


You're describing what I call Wal Mart disease. That's when you go to the Wal Mart, and there are 30 cash registers, but only two are operational, and there are 50 people in line at each one.

It's become an epidemic. Nobody is immune, and it's widespread in both the public and private sectors. It's apparent in how everybody acts like robots because of the time pressure and standard ("cookie cutter") approaches that are supposed to be used.

I can personally testify about this. I used to be an auditor for a state agency. My clients were business owners and managers of nonprofits, anything with employees or anything that might hire employees later. My unit was small, with only 17 auditors at its peak for the 35,000 or so employing units in the entire state. Although my unit was part of a fairly large agency, you can bet if I got a phone call, it was from someone who had some business with the portion of the agency I represented. It wouldn't someone who wanted to ask "Where's the bathroom?", so to speak.

But we had a governor at the time who thought everyone should act exactly the same. In my case, instead of answering "Field auditor, may I help you?" I had to say the longer and clunkier "West Virginia Department of ----------------, Tax Examiner, how may I help you?"

I called that the Wal Mart greeting, too. That was when Wal Mart was having its employees wear vests with cartoon letters on the back reading "How may I help you?"

For these and other reasons, including ugly stores, you can figure I'm not a fan of Wal Mart.

Hey, but I'm retired auditor who dealt with business owners daily for 36 years, and a rail enthusiast who comes into that avocation from a liking for steam locomotives and the world they ran in. What the hell do I know?


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:29 am 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
J3a-614 wrote:
You're describing what I call Wal Mart disease. That's when you go to the Wal Mart, and there are 30 cash registers, but only two are operational, and there are 50 people in line at each one.

It's become an epidemic. Nobody is immune, and it's widespread in both the public and private sectors. It's apparent in how everybody acts like robots because of the time pressure and standard ("cookie cutter") approaches that are supposed to be used.

I agree 100%. That and intentionally understaffing is the "flavor of the month" in business and has been for a while now.
If you even ask a question of someone anymore, they have launch into their spiel (lest they be dinged later for not saying all the stuff, even though it has no bearing on the conversation) before they can tell you that's not their department and that they can't answer your question (again, lest they be dinged by Mgt).
But not getting time off is a large component of this. Sure, you might have the time off on paper, but try asking to actually use it. It's not quite that bad where I am, but I have heard of others who lose their "use it or lose it" time off because Mgt won't ever let them actually take it off. When that is pointed out, they're told it's their job to just figure it out somehow.
My point is that when looking for volunteers, groups and museums have to realize this is a thing if they're looking for anyone other than kids and retirees.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:29 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 931
Location: Tucson, Arizona
parktrains wrote:
Quote:
Is this the only reason you walked away? Your expectations may be unrealistic if you’re expecting to walk onto an organization’s property and immediately hop into the engineer’s seat.


Immediately hop into the seat, no. But expecting "years" of doing crap work nobody else wants to do to garner some small chance that the "old heads" might (and with a lot of groups that -might- never happens) move out of the chair and let you have a hand with some of the fun stuff IS NOT GOING TO FLY with a younger generation.

As for me not being a good volunteer - as a car host I wouldn't be. I don't like dealing with the public and have no desire to stand around and collect tickets. I'd completely suck at it.

However, I have excellent electrical and mechanical experience and a desire to restore and operate equipment. If I'm told my skills don't matter and I'll be stuck doing some suck job I'll hate for some undetermined amount of time "because that's the way it is" then you bet your ass I'm spinning around and heading back out the door I came in. Which is the exact same thing countless other potential volunteers are doing for the exact same reason.

I can spend two years cleaning a groups toilets and doing the weedeating with a good chance they'll never let me advance or a can spend two years of my life spending my free time doing something I'd enjoy. Younger people are choosing the latter.

There's a reason younger people aren't banging down the door and it's not complicated.


That is true in a large part. There has been a generational shift and we fail to acknowledge that at our peril. I got started with TVRM-spent one year as a volunteer and the remaining nine as a paid man. We had jobs that you could pretty much walk into, such as customer service, and we had jobs that you had to step up to. For the operating crews, the most prestigious assignments were the interline excursion trains. To get to that, you were looking at three to four years minimum. As a paid employee, the road told me what I had to do, and I learned a lot from that. Everything from working trains to sanding waiting room benches and selling tickets at the ticket office. If you just wanted to be conductor on the local, you could make that in a year. Getting qualified to work interline trains on the Norfolk Southern-you were looking at two years. Excursion train? Minimum was one year as a local conductor and a year as an NS qualified conductor.

We did have volunteers who wanted nothing to do with the public-we steered them towards shop work. We assessed each potential volunteer and tried to match their abilities and requests with an appropriate job assignment. We also caught most of our long term volunteers as they were in high school and made certain that they had a good understanding of how to progress to their desired goal and that the more they volunteered, the faster they'd progress. The railroad also understood that young people needed paying summer jobs, so they made those available to the young members. That also drew interest from younger people-seeing people their age working on the railroad.

The thing is, we need to understand what we need to do to attract the next generation of volunteers and keep them engaged. That is what will ensure that there are new people to hand our torch off to.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 549
Location: B'more Maryland
You guys are doing it right here.

This whole "in my day we had to..." thing.

That's EXACTLY what stops people from getting involved.

Yes, you can't just come in off the street and hop onto the seat box. I don't think anyone with half a brain would think you could.

But the idea that you're immediately going to hit someone who's shown an interest in this stuff with "well, that's a long way away for you" is what drives people off.

Here's a better way to handle a situation like this. Say someone emails your organization with this:

Quote:
Hi BF&W Scenic!
I just moved into the area for a new job as a heavy equipment operator. I've been a modeler and railfan for years and I'd love to get involved in actually running some real trains. How do I do that with your group?

-Dave Nelson


You're going to have a much better chance of getting Dave to get involved (and sand benches) if you start off with something like this

Quote:
Hi Dave. Welcome to the area. We're always looking for volunteers, especially folks who have similar skill sets to yours. We've got a pretty dedicated crew who does a bunch of different things from running a locomotive all the way down to cutting the grass. Running a heritage railroad like ours takes all of those things and some of those things take some time to learn. We'd love for you to come by the next volunteer orientation session or work night and meet the crew and see how you can help out.


Than something like this:

Quote:
Mr Nelson. Thanks for contacting the BF&W. As you know, we're the areas only operating steam railroad and it takes a long time before you can become an engineer. You can start as a ticket sales assistant after you attend our mandatory training classes (offered every third Tuesday at 9:30 am) and then apply to join the operating crew in a year. Please give us your phone number so we can call you the night before if the volunteer coordinator cancels the training class.


Do you see the differences?


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:56 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Great post, Ed.
That second response example is almost exactly what I got the one time I offered to volunteer for a operation near where I lived. I think the phrase, "Give up the dream of running the locomotive" was actually said in the conversation. I just turned around and walked away without a single word. I bet they chuckled at that, thinking they dissuaded someone they didn't really want. But in fact, they weren't the least bit welcoming.
I'll be 50 this year and I don't need someone to throw a party that I even asked if they needed a hand. But to be told they don't really need anyone other than guy to swap ties out, well, how could they expect to get anyone with a response like that?

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 931
Location: Tucson, Arizona
When I did work with the locomotive crews at TVRM, once you demonstrated that you were familiar with locomotive operations, our chief road foreman of engines would eventually give you throttle time under supervision. He'd start you out, running between stations. Once your skills progressed, you'd get to start the train out of the station and run to the other end of the line. Once you demonstrated competency at that, you'd be allowed to bring the train into the station.

The purpose of this was two fold. One, it rewarded your efforts by letting you get a taste of being the engineer. Second (and perhaps more importantly), you learned how to operate the locomotive so that if the engineer were to become incapacitated, you could control the train and get it to a place where aid could be obtained. This was particularly important as none of our locomotives (at the time) had deadman features.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:58 pm
Posts: 107
Happy to see this discussion turning into a text book for
"How to Run a Successful Volunteer Group".

Not just venting, but actual, useful ways to fix the problems.

Interesting to see such a wide range of people,
...from widely varying interest groups....
all have the same identical negative museum encounters.

I'd agree with Lee Bishop.
The second posting by Ed Kapuscinski sums-up things exactly.

There is no mystery after all, about declining numbers of volunteers.
Appears to be self induced..
.Just my opinion.

Old Smokey


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:58 pm
Posts: 107
Another problem is bone-headed moves by new management to "fix" things.
Was very involved in the volunteer group of a major rail and automobile museum.

They ran into various difficulties, which lead to a new leader arriving one day.

This was a museum that had almost 300 volunteers. About 90 active ones.
About ten thousand sq.ft. of display space. Well equipped back shops.
Well known in North America.

One of the first moves, to save money, was to start charging the volunteer group...for the previously free coffee in the volunteer lunch room. When it was pointed out that perk cost the museum about $20 a month...the reply was..."we all have to share the load"..."go away ".

Within two months the volunteer group was down to a third of what it once was..and got smaller.

It still surprises me to this day.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:04 pm
Posts: 114
Location: San Jose, CA
Years ago, a local organization had work party nights in the shop. It was well attended and was a family affair with pizza or a potluck organized for meals. High schoolers and newcomers were invited to turn wrenches, operate machines tools (under supervision) and most importantly, learn railroad technology. Most involved would become engineers.

An organizational upheaval occurred because one of the "old guard" wanted the final say on how maintenance occurred. As a result, most of the then active volunteers left.

Now in charge, the "old guard", who had recently retired himself, decided to change the work weeknights to a work day for his own convenience. Effectively, the new schedule eliminated the partipation of those with full time employment and, most unfortunate, the high schoolers. Though the "old guard" is no longer active, his new crew of retirees have stayed on the work weekday schedule.

And now they wonder why the organization is short handed on our volunteer roster.

Sad.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:27 pm
Posts: 310
Location: Texas
Chris Webster wrote:
Alan Walker wrote:
I'm going to be brutally honest here-rail preservation is in a really bad state compared to the aviation museums


I disagree. AFAIK, nobody has attempted to historically preserve a complete airbase or airport (other than Floyd Bennett Field in NYC which is now a park managed by the National Park Service.)


A complete, historically preserved airport is the Ranger Airfield, Eastland, Texas:

https://www.rangerairfield.org.

Also, a review of the FAA aircraft registry reveals thousands of warbird aircraft in indivdual owners' care...


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:33 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 85
Kermit Weeks, a collector of historic aircraft, has an execellent Youtube channel discussing various aspects of aircraft restoration, operation, and museum interpretation. It is really quite good.

On point of this topic, is an extended interview and tour (70min - published in two parts) with a shop specializing in historic engines. The conversation includes a discussion about what engine models are likely to have parts available well into the future and which ones may face crippling parts shortages.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8im_ZghEpLs

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51bzGnXv9k


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:03 am 
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Thomas Cornillie wrote:
Kermit Weeks, a collector of historic aircraft, has an execellent Youtube channel discussing various aspects of aircraft restoration, operation, and museum interpretation. It is really quite good.

On point of this topic, is an extended interview and tour (70min - published in two parts) with a shop specializing in historic engines. The conversation includes a discussion about what engine models are likely to have parts available well into the future and which ones may face crippling parts shortages.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8im_ZghEpLs

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51bzGnXv9k

Weeks's collection is a lot like some of the RR museums, in that he has such a huge collection, he'll never get to running (flying) some equipment that in the hands of a smaller group would be flying today.
He has a rare B-24J that was flying in the 90s but hasn't been fired up in many years. He also has a very rare B-26. Each could be flying today if only there was an interest.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 931
Location: Tucson, Arizona
p51 wrote:
Thomas Cornillie wrote:
Kermit Weeks, a collector of historic aircraft, has an execellent Youtube channel discussing various aspects of aircraft restoration, operation, and museum interpretation. It is really quite good.

On point of this topic, is an extended interview and tour (70min - published in two parts) with a shop specializing in historic engines. The conversation includes a discussion about what engine models are likely to have parts available well into the future and which ones may face crippling parts shortages.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8im_ZghEpLs

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51bzGnXv9k

Weeks's collection is a lot like some of the RR museums, in that he has such a huge collection, he'll never get to running (flying) some equipment that in the hands of a smaller group would be flying today.
He has a rare B-24J that was flying in the 90s but hasn't been fired up in many years. He also has a very rare B-26. Each could be flying today if only there was an interest.


The primary difference between the Weeks Collection and most railroad museums is that Kermit (practically speaking) has unlimited funds. Google "Weeks Royalty". That's a 2.5% royalty on oil and gas production from Australia's largest oil field.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 959
and Kermit's aircraft are mostly inside. Not rusting on a siding open to the weather.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 931
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Dave Lewandoski wrote:
and Kermit's aircraft are mostly inside. Not rusting on a siding open to the weather.


Which is funded by his unlimited financial resources. What we in railway preservation need to do is focus on cultivating financial resources that will permit us to do what is necessary to protect our oversized artifacts. This is why many museums are now rationalizing their collections and disposing of items that either no longer fit the stated mission or that they determine that they do not have the resources to care for.

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