This year, Business Services Management focused on just two things:
- Structure and management of the overall Burning Man budget process
- Vendor contracts and management for office buildings, golf carts, and the Gerlach Shuttle
Please see the Administration section for a discussion of this year’s improved budget process. In the area of vendor contracting, long-term relationships with key vendors made interactions, planning, and on-playa execution much smoother and more pain-free this year than ever before.
We continue to shift the balance of owning versus renting for shelter needs. This year we again did our best to match departments’ needs with existing DPW-built or project-owned portable buildings before we sourced new rentals from our vendor. Of the 28 buildings required for on-playa operations, 11 were from our existing inventory, and 17 were rented from our vendor. We began working with the vendor in January to secure the necessary buildings, allowing us to get exactly what we needed and to schedule deliveries to optimize efficiency and costs. This excellent ongoing relationship is one that we will continue to nurture.
We also continue to improve our care of golf carts on the playa. In 2002 for the first time we established an on-playa golf cart service station. This strikingly successful innovation was was repeated in 2003 with various improvements. In addition, we addressed the serious issue of golf cart theft by outfitting each cart with a special antitheft device designed specifically for golf carts. Staff members were required to secure their unattended carts. This procedure made some feel kind of silly, but the result was ZERO lost/stolen carts for 2003, resulting in a huge improvement in our relationship with our cart vendor.
The biggest improvement planned for staff carts in 2004 is solving the problem of night driving lights. We need to identify a solution that’s bright enough to allow the carts to be driven safely, yet gelled (or otherwise dimmed) enough that the cart lights aren’t vision hazards to those around. (And, unlike this year’s solution, the lights have to be secured to the carts without risking setting any part of them on fire!)
On-playa operations of the Gerlach shuttle service are managed by Community Services. See the Bus Depot article for comments about this year’s operations.
Dana Harrison, aka BizBabe