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Conservation District upgrades technology, goes mobile | News, Sports, Jobs

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Resource Technician Sara Embich is pictured with the county conservation district’s new mobile computer unit.

LOCK HAVEN — The Clinton County Conservation District is taking its work to the field — literally. District Manager, Wade Jodun recently unveiled the district’s new mobile offices.

“COVID-19 threw the District a real curveball,” Jodun noted. “We watched as many county agencies as well as our state and federal partners immediately began teleworking as a means to socially distance and combat the pandemic.”

According to Jodun, at the onset of the pandemic, the district’s ability to work remotely was severely limited due to a heavy reliance on fixed computer stations and printers.

Jodun who was hired in December said, “My highest priority was to upgrade our technology and give the staff the ability to work anywhere.”

Working with the Clinton County Commissioners, the district was able to utilize Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to purchase ruggedized mobile offices for each staff member.

“These new mobile machines mean we can work from anywhere and have access to all of our information,” Jodun commented. The components involved in the upgrade will allow district staff to access information through a network of computers, implemented both in the office as well in District vehicles. One component of the project includes the installation of laptop computer docking systems in all vehicles.

“The goal,” Jodun explained, “was to have our vehicle become a mobile office, providing staff with mobile printers and software that will allow them to provide point-of-contact service to Clinton County residents.”

While instituted in response to the pandemic, the new mobile offices allow the district to have their files and documents at their fingertips anywhere their work takes them.

“The work we do is with farmers in the field, with contractors on earth-moving sites and with complainants in their back yard,” Jodun explained. “Instead of needing to go back to the office and mail documents, we can now print an inspection report or print instructions for developing an erosion and sedimentation plan from the vehicle right at the complaint site or job site.”

Jodun gives credit to the County’s IT Department and to the County Commissioners.

“I had the idea, but the County IT Department provided the technical specifications, obtained the quotes and set up the machines,” Jodun remarked. “And, none of this would have been possible were it not for the support of the Commissioners who secured the funding.”

“The pandemic has changed the way we view meetings, trainings, and other in-person events,” Commissioner Angela Harding noted. “Even more than allowing for telework during the pandemic, this mobility allows the District to offer more timely service to County residents.”

Harding along with Commissioners Jeff Snyder and Miles Kessinger have prioritized upgrading the county’s technology during their joint tenure.

In addition to initiatives such as this one, the commissioners have also moved the county’s time, attendance and payroll system from an antiquated paper-based approach to an on-line, computerized system.

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