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Around the Network Offices

by Gila Hayes

There’s big news from your Network office team this month. We’re prepping to move our offices out of the office sharing arrangement we’ve had with The Firearms Academy of Seattle for the first thirteen years of the Network’s existence. I explored alternatives for office space in Centralia, our closest town of any real size, throughout most of 2021 and was really pleased when a mutually beneficial opportunity arose to relocate into the office area of an industrial building leased by an associate who needs the factory floor, but not the suite of offices. The transition is timely, with three of our five daily in-office workers anticipating reducing their commute time back and forth to our old rural location by an hour or more.

Technology today makes an office move like this a lot simpler than it once was! Internet technology and telephony results in no changes in our telephone number and because two of us continue to live near our old location, we will maintain our long-standing Post Office box mailing address. I’ve been pleased and surprised that there will be no disruption to our members’ ability to reach and interact with our Network team as a result of moving our office location.

If anything, our move enhances our ability to create more streaming video, with ample space set aside for a permanent video studio. Suffice it to say, we’re excitedly waiting to get the “move on in,” notice that the paint and flooring upgrades are done on our new digs. We anticipate phasing our in-office staff one at a time over the new location later this month, but the disruption should not even be noticeable to members. Speaking of which, one thing that makes it easy to phase staff team members over to the new location one at a time is the latest addition to our team. Let me tell you about her next.

Introducing the Voice on the Phone

The pleasure Network members take in forging connections with those of us in the Network office keeps our enthusiasm for member service strong. Members calling with questions about membership expiration dates, requests for replacement membership wallet cards, renewal dues payments and other concerns are enjoying conversations with our newest team member, Amie Otterness. Because of the personal connection we have with our members, folks have commented that hers is a new voice and made a point to extend their words of welcome. An introduction is in order.

While we serve members in all 50 states and the U.S. Territories, the Network’s offices are in the conservative enclave of Lewis County in western Washington State. This is where Amie raised her three daughters, and she’s rightfully proud of their growth into successful adults. During her years as working mom and home school mom, she also managed an auto repair shop, brought order to the dispensary while working for a local mental health treatment clinic, and worked at a fitness center and later at a local hospital. Added to Amie’s diverse work experience is her volunteer work at our local veterans’ museum.

Amie is a wonderful asset to our phone services to members and all the behind-the-scenes administrative challenges that make our organization run smoothly. I thought our members should “meet” her and know a little more about the voice on the phone when they call in.

Good Things Ahead

We’ve loved coming to work in our little rural office and as we prepare to depart, some of its memories will include the pair of cats we adopted to keep the country mice out of our building, or the day William and I looked out our south windows to see a cougar not 25 yards away strolling through the meadow, along with a host of other rural experiences.

We’ve balanced the peace and beauty against the noise of operating right on a shooting range (hey, that’s the sound of freedom!), the last half mile of potholed gravel at the end of a commute on the deer infested highway (we’ve all had close calls, and several have “harvested” venison with the front bumper), the phone and power outages endemic to above ground power lines serving our rural location, the hit and miss highway maintenance during storms, all this and more have kept getting to work interesting. There are wins and losses in this upcoming move, but in the end, the Network and its team of daily workers will be stronger for the move to town.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.