Weekly Message from Jim Carrington

May 30, 2020 - A Special Group of People

Dear Danforth Center Community,

A few weeks ago, I wrote about five criteria we needed to satisfy before transitioning out of Minimum Basic Operations (MBO). Well, with contributions and planning from across the Danforth Center, we checked the box on all five criteria and will transition to Phase 1 operations on Monday, June 1. While this represents nothing near back to “normal,” Phase 1 is a measured, safety-first step toward ramping up on-site activities that are important to our teams, our research and our mission. This is an important milestone as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through MBO and planning for Phase 1, I’ve been humbled and sometimes dumbfounded to witness so many examples of selfless dedication in support of others at the Danforth Center. This message is a “thank you” to all who have gone over and above, usually out of view and without fanfare, for the past 11 weeks. I wish there was room to highlight everyone who caught my attention, but for now, here’s a few of stories of people working wonders behind the scenes.

Joy Knuckles has been quietly but effectively contributing to nearly all facets of facilities and safety. Joy has used grit and determination to identify suppliers of scarce but essential items like masks and sanitizers, and figured out how to get deliveries to the Center expedited. And every day, Joy helps prepare a report with necessary information about entries into our facilities, allowing us to affirm that only authorized members of the MBO team are working on-site. Thank you, Joy, for your invaluable contributions!

Vince Abernathy and Andrew Helbling in IT were challenged to develop quickly a reliable, simple-to-use system to certify that everyone working on-site during Phase 1 passes a daily wellness check. This is a little more complicated than one might assume. They developed both an email-triggered online system (short-term solution) and a QR code system (long-term solution) to collect and process daily wellness certifications. While most of us were relaxing on Memorial Day, Vince and Andrew spent the holiday working on and testing the systems so they would be ready to go on June 1. Thank you, Vince and Andrew, for your dedication and sacrifice!

Speaking of the daily wellness check, let me tell you about Maria Higa, Joanie Featherston and Sally Zetzman in Human Resources and what they did to obtain 350 Kinsa thermometers. Most of you received your smart thermometer over the past 10 days. Maria initially tried for weeks to communicate with Kinsa, unsuccessfully, to place a bulk order. With time getting short, they searched for conventional thermometers as a stop-gap measure, but like certain other items in short supply recently, they could not identify a sufficient source. Joanie even made half a dozen trips to stores in town, only to find thermometers were sold out or limited to one per purchase. Long story short, the team figured out that the only way to secure hundreds of Kinsa thermometers by June 1 was to place individual online orders, one at a time, for delivery to each community member at their individual home addresses. They spent days and nights placing orders, ultimately succeeding ahead of schedule. Thank you, Sally, Maria, and Joanie for your tireless work and determined effort!

I received a very nice message recently from someone who, like me, has been admiring the contributions of so many at the Danforth Center during the COVID-19 crisis: “It’s been a strange way of life and work since March and it takes great people to keep the wheel running smoothly.  I don’t know how smoothly this will all seem someday but what I do know is we have worked hard as a team to do our very best.  The entire Danforth Center is a special group of people.”

I could not possibly conclude any better than that.

Jim Carrington, President

Previous Weekly Messages from Jim Carrington

Danforth Center Response Plan

The Danforth Plant Science Center recognizes the potential of exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our building and the impact it could have on our people and the Center. Accordingly, we have a plan in place in the event of a positive test for COVID-19 of an individual who was present in our Building(s).

Danforth Center Updates

During this unique moment in history, the first priority of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is the health and safety of our Center community, our families, and those who work with us.