Black Rock City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) had another strong and successful year in 2011. Capitalizing on the stability of the 2010 season, in 2011 we were able focus on optimiziing our infrastructure to make the most of the well-oiled machine we have become. We also reorganized our crews a bit this year, adding some needed support to crews that have been taking on more and more work each year.
For the 2011 Work Season, we stuck to our schedule of just three Pre-Event Work Weekends, and again saw a good turnout. Much of the work focused on expanding housing for the DPW crew, and completing pre-production work for the Man Base and DPW Ghetto. Work Weekends continue to be a valuable place to recruit new energy, allowing us to bring in new folks, see their skill sets in action, and after working with them for a bit, potentially take them onto the crew for the year.
Several key labor changes were put into place this year for a number of our departments. Our Heavy Equipment team – Renamed HEaT (Heavy Equipment and Transpo) was restructured and fleshed out a bit, adding eight new positions to its roster. The changes were all facilitated by the new HEaT Manager, who felt that it was the most effective way to support the growing need for Heavy Equipment in Black Rock City. The Plumbing and Power crews were also expanded this year, again to accommodate the growing demand on their departments.
Since 2006, the FISTICA team handled the construction of First camp and all three Arctica locations. This year the team was split into separate Fisrt Camp and Arctica crews, allowing both teams to concentrate on their specific areas as the designs and builds of each project became more distinct. Each of the crews was slightly expanded in 2011, to bring both teams up to full strength.
The DPW Ghetto crew also continued to evolve this year, getting a larger team, a new manager, and a complete western facade for our bar and lounge area, which made for the nicest home we’ve ever had on playa. The expanded crew helped to host regular bar hours during the build and during the event.
All told, the DPW 2011 crew topped out at 285 people, about 75% of which were returning members. There were more than 900 applicants for DPW this year, and while we couldn’t take them all, we were grateful to have so much new energy and enthusiasm to add to the team.
The Department of Public Works continues to improve its operations and hone its strengths each year. 2011 was another excellent season, and we look forward to repeating our successes and meeting the challenges that 2012 will bring.