Thurston County Food Bank

Robert CoitPMI Olympia Chapter is excited to welcome Robert Coit to our December dinner meeting to share with us his experience as Executive Director and achievements of Thurston County Food Bank.

It is the mission of the Thurston County Food Bank to eliminate hunger within our community. The Thurston County Food Bank is governed by a Board of Directors, all community members. Our service area includes the urban core of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, their surrounding growth areas and under-served parts of Thurston County. To reduce access barriers, the Thurston County Food Bank, in collaboration with community partners, operates fifteen satellite Food Banks.

We also operate mobile food banks at nine low income neighborhoods, primarily mobile home parks and apartment complexes. In partnerships with four school districts we distribute weekend food bags at thirty one elementary schools and one Head Start Program. The school programs target homeless children. To promote childhood nutrition, the Food Bank currently supports three school gardens. Our main location in downtown Olympia provides food using the client choice model which allows families to choose the food they want instead of receiving a pre-made bag.

The Thurston County Food Bank works with the rural food banks in Rochester, Tenino and Yelm. Collaborations include acting as the lead agency for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, accessing food through Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest, as well as providing food and technical support to some smaller rural operations.

Robert Coit is the Executive Director of the Thurston County Food Bank. He has held the position for ten years. He is responsible for overseeing program evaluation activities of four programs conducted by his agency. This includes assisting in with a statewide e-scan tool of Food Pantries that evaluates the Department of Health's policy of increasing consumption of nutritious foods. He is also responsible for evaluating the agency's success in accomplishing the objectives of its strategic plan.

For eighteen years he has worked to end the negative impacts of hunger. While working for the Community Action Council, he managed the Senior Nutrition Program for Mason and Thurston Counties, responsible for measuring the impact of various Nutrition Education Programs as well as the program evaluation and contract compliance for the Senior Nutrition program. He left his position there as the Deputy Director for Senior Services to work for the Food Bank.

He is:

  • Past member of the Olympia Rotary
  • Past president of the Waterfront Kiwanis Club,
  • Past Treasurer of South Sound Partners in Philanthropy,
  • Past Chair and current member of the Washington Food Coalition,
  • Citizens Advisory Committee Port of Olympia,
  • Board of Director (Treasurer) of South Sound Reading Foundation,
  • Chair of DSHS Portal Project Advisory Committee,
  • Chair of WSDA Food Assistance Program Advisory Committee and
  • Serves as a fire commissioner for Fire Protection District Five (Black Lake).

Robert is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Liberal Arts Degree in Germanics. He is the father of two children (Elizabeth 23 and Kyle 17). He also collects Hungarian coins and loves to fly fish.


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North SeaTac Airport Renovation

GSmithPMI Olympia Chapter is excited to welcome Greg Smith to our November dinner meeting to share with us his experiance with North SeaTac Airport Renovation as  Program Manager.

The program includes multiple projects within Alaska Airlines as well as the Port of Seattle to expand the North Satellite from 12 gates to 20, as well as implement seismic upgrades, renovate and rebuild the existing satellite facility and the construction of a rooftop Board Room for Alaska Airlines.  Additionally, the program includes projects to expand and enhance the Satellite Train System (STS), renovate the existing baggage handling system, expand the satellite baggage handling system, rebuild and remodel the north end of the main terminal, refurbish the entire C concourse (including new covered passenger and sloped walkways, as well as employee spaces).  The combined projects within the program total well over $500 million over the next 5 years and set a new standard for cooperation between the Port of Seattle and the airline tenants, especially Alaska.

Greg Smith is a Program Manager in Alaska Airlines for the North SeaTac Airport Renovation, referred to as the NorthSTAR Program. The NorthSTAR Program is a $500 million collaboration between the Port of Seattle and Alaska Airlines to expand, revitalize and rebuild the north end of SeaTac airport.

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What is the difference between a Project Manager and a Scrum Master?

Greg Smith

PMI Olympia Chapter is excited to welcome Greg Smith to our October dinner meeting to share with us the key difference between a Project Manager and a Scrum Master.

Can one person play both roles?  This interactive presentation will cover the responsibilities of both roles, where they overlap, and the personality types that are a good fit for each.  We will also discuss real world case studies and how many local companies have addressed the two roles.

Greg Smith is an Agile coach and trainer who specializes in the practical adoption of Agile methods. During his career Greg has held positions as a Product Manager, Program Manager, Development Manager, Scrum Master, and Project Manager. Greg is a Certified Scrum Master and PMI-ACP®.

In 2009 Greg co-authored Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World. This book has helped a number of companies move to a more Agile development lifecycle, and is often used as a guide for project teams. PMI uses Becoming Agile as part of its curriculum for the PMI-ACP®.

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Nurturing the Agile Culture in the Project Office

                           ..... DOL's Continuing Agile Journey 

Melodi Cottongim-2010

PMI Olympia Chapter is excited to welcome Melodi Cottongim, Project Office Manager at Department of Licensing, to our September dinner meeting to share with us her experience and insights with agile at DOL.

Project Managers are sometimes threatened and confused when shifting from traditional ‘command and control’ on projects to the Agile framework of self-directed teams and servant leadership. The Department of Licensing began the Agile journey with one project and scrum team in 2011 and gradually transformed with all IS project teams now using the Agile Framework.

Learn what Dept. of Licensing does to nurture the culture of Agile in the PMO including adaptations of planning, scheduling, status reports, roles, and responsibilities. 

Melodi Cottongim, Project Office Manager at Department of Licensing. After practicing traditional project management for 15 years, Melodi led the first Agile project at DOL in 2011. Other teams witnessing the successful results, joy and fun of the project team, asked if they too could try the Agile framework. Working with an Agile coach, Melodi began coaching others at DOL to start up Agile teams. She now conducts period Agile classes and coaches Agile teams at DOL. In addition she conducts Agile orientation sessions for the business areas and has shared DOL’s practices with multiple Washington State agencies.

In her spare time, Melodi is a professional watercolor artist and the director of Splash Gallery on Olympia’s waterfront.

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Sponsorship Challenges: What Would You Do?

ToddCWilliams-2015PMI Olympia Chapter is excited to bring Todd C. Williams President of eCameron back for his annual spring presentation!  This year he will speaking about Project Sponsors.  Using his new presen-table format where the audience is as much a part of the presentation as the speaker is Mr. Williams will frame up several micro case studies around common project sponsor stumbling blocks.  Mr. Williams then turns the presentation over to the audience for a facilitated roundtable discussion.  After 5 minutes or so of group engaged discussion Mr. Williams will share his experience and then continue on to the next sponsorship challenge.  As social media has taught us, the audience wants to be part of the discussion and this format draws on the collective group‘s knowledge.  

Some of the issues covered will include: micro managing sponsors, sponsor absenteeism, lack of engagement, replacing your sponsor, the 1st time sponsor, and more.

Todd C Williams has twenty-five years of experience helping companies ranging from start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations achieve their goals. He has specialized in: executive consulting, project rescue, failure prevention, and engaging people in the solution. He helps improve how companies implement their strategic plans—from definition to ensuring the proper people are in place

Mr. Williams is a professional member of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), National Speakers Association (NSA), Project Management Institute (PMI), and the Society for Information Management (SIM). He has spoken to numerous companies and professional organizations, including NASA, BEA Systems, Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, Portland General Electric, and Bonneville Power Administration.

As an expert witness, Mr. Williams has used his skills to assist companies that have fallen prey to unqualified third party integrators that were not focused on the correct methodology or delivering an end result that provided a useable solution.

Mr. Williams is the author of the book, “Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure” and has also written for The CEO Magazine, American Management Association, and his own Back From Red blog.

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