Kelli Owen, Patrick McGrady, Wendell Johnson, Leif Johansen, and Bob Galteland – some of Reid Middleton’s multi-modal commuters.
I’m usually a single occupancy driver, but have bussed, carpooled, and telecommuted at various times since working at Reid Middleton. Once my daughter could drive herself to school, I gave up use of my car and caught a ride with a coworker. When our schedules didn’t permit carpooling, I hopped on a bus around the corner. I lived on an infrequent route, so if I missed it, I ended up walking an hour to the office. It wasn’t my preferred method of getting to work.
My favorite by far is telecommuting. During the January 2012 snowstorm, while the snow and ice piled up outside my window, I was warm and safe at home, being just as functional as I would have been at the office. I was in contact with all team members from Everett to Oregon, putting a proposal together. The only significant difference was that I didn’t have to do my hair or makeup, I wore my slippers, and I could get my Pandora jam on.
Technology and flexible management policies make commuting in non-traditional ways an easy and often preferred choice.
When weather, project work, illness, travel, or family requires employees to work offsite, many Reid Middleton employees make use of the telecommute option. Employees can connect to our email and network files (using remote desktop technology and Virtual Private Network), and have available screen sharing software, online videoconferencing, and instant messaging tools to coordinate with other team members.
Videoconferencing is regularly used at Monday morning executive staff meetings so that Reid Middleton’s Alaska office director and other offsite attendees can participate. Recently, our president videoconferenced in to a Monday meeting from his campsite in Dosewallips State Park.
When staff work offsite, they often report they are able to be even more focused when working remotely without having the usual workplace distractions. And, offsite workers can easily perform their tasks outside of customary office hours, accelerating productivity by completing their portion of work by the time office-based staff return.
Reid Middleton has a storied history of avid motorcyclists. When I asked current staff why they choose to ride their motorcycle to work, the answer was always because they enjoy it.
Reid Middleton President Bob Galteland’s favorite way to get to work is his sweet Honda Goldwing, a birthday gift from his wife two years ago. Bob had a motorcycle in college, but when he got married and kids were on the horizon, he gave the bike up for something more family friendly. Not long after the last kid grew up, his wife told him she wanted to get him a motorcycle. Who could say no?
Bob rides in about once a week; the trip home can take longer because he often finds a detour worthy of a pleasure ride. Riding the bike to work does make it hard to extend an impromptu lunch invitation.
Patrick McGrady, a transportation engineer, has always been crazy about motorcycles. When kids came along, he sold his motorcycle and bought a van. He started riding again in 2002, when his kids were grown (a trend is emerging), and now rides at every opportunity. Patrick’s senior motorcycle group, “The Cruisin’ Codgers,” takes road trips as far as the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone to Crescent City, Calif. A few years ago, a car backed out of a parking stall into his path, colliding with him. He needed two surgeries to rebuild his right leg. Stalwart about the experience, he says he plans to ride as long as he’s able, and when age takes away his strength, he will put a sidecar on his motorcycle to hold it up. Patrick asks, “What activity do you have that makes you smile?”
Other Reid Middleton bikers include father and son drafters Guy and Cory Mendenhall and airport engineers Wade Brooks and Vince Castro, and transportation engineer Leif Johansen.
Wendell Johnson, our Director of Development Services, deserves a medal for his dedication to riding the bus. Hailing from Camano Island, Wendell has been riding Island Transit to Everett Station, and Community Transit (CT) from there to Reid Middleton since 2006. He leaves his house on Camano at 6:15 a.m. and arrives at the office at 7:45. If he drove a car with no traffic delays, it would take at least 50 minutes, so the time involved isn’t much of an issue to him. And, thanks to government transit grants, the ride between the island and Everett is free.
Many people at Reid Middleton bicycle to work on occasion. A few, however, display a consistent commitment to human-powered two-wheel transportation.
Steve Lodholz, surveyor and resident bicycling beast, rides nearly seven miles to work every day during the summer, weather permitting. Steve participates in many area organized rides, including the Seattle to Portland (STP), Flying Wheels Century, Tour deBlast, Chuckanut Century, and the Tour des Engineers. He’s learned from painful experience how important it is to be easily noticed by drivers, and recently added a red strobe light to the back of his bike following a close encounter with a car.
Mike Creeden, a transportation engineer, has been riding his bike to work for the last nine years. These days, he rides in every week or two between April and September. Since 2004, Mike’s vacation calendar is often taken up with long distance group rides like the STP, Ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC and Party (RSVP), and Ride Around Washington (RAW).
Kelli Owen, a senior transportation engineer, is so practical and enthusiastic about riding her bike she will even ride wearing a skirt. She currently commutes 11 miles to work, or 3.5 miles to the bus stop. Over the years, she’s worked out a variety of arrangements to make riding her bike to or from work possible.
- A coworker’s daughter picked her young son up from school once a week so she could ride her bike home on that day.
- When that son got older, he built her an electric bicycle as his senior project. Too heavy to put on the bus, she stored it in a CT bike locker during the bus portion of her trip.
- In 2011, she and airport engineer Don Barclay committed to ride to work at least once a month. This pact resulted in riding to work 40 times that year.
Kelli says riding comes with some peril too. She has a bad habit of missing the bus and then has to ride farther than she wants or she has to sit and wait for the next bus – which isn’t too bad because she gets more time to knit!
Work – Life Balance
We are fortunate that Reid Middleton values and promotes a good work/life balance and strives to accommodate flexible time schedules, always keeping responsive service to clients as the primary consideration.