Quinn Services Newsletter No. 2

Today’s Topics:
Example of Project Management of a team-based grant preparation and application.
Federal and State Agency activity that may be relevant to your community.

Example: Project Management of an Illinois Safe Routes to School Grant Application

I recently completed a project for the Village of Dunlap, which illustrates how use of my services can help you accomplish your objectives, both on-time and in a cost effective manner.  This particular project required educating participants in project goals, coordinating activities, and achieving tight schedules.

The project was to apply for an Illinois Safe Routes to School grant to build a sidewalk connecting a subdivision to its schools and library. Work began about two months before the first application deadline. Since the normal lead time is five months, this project would require close scheduling and coordination to prepare a successful application.

I conducted a kickoff meeting that included representatives from the Village, a neighborhood organization, a parents’ organization, and the School District. The Village Engineer and a representative from Congressman Schock’s office were unable to attend the first meeting, but were kept informed. Representatives from the library district, the Sheriff’s Department, and a recreation organization were added to the team later as needed. I explained the goals of the program, grant scoring criteria, and the schedule. Agreement was reached on roles, responsibilities, and initial deadlines.

Following the meeting, I created a project management plan that ordered the necessary tasks based on required precedence relationships and deadlines, and I assigned tasks to appropriate team members. During the ensuing weeks, email and phone calls were used to keep the team aware of timetables and deadlines for their tasks. Team member questions were answered, and the overall project status was reported regularly. The team members responded positively, completing their assignments on-time and with high quality.

My own tasks included organizing and entering the bulk of the grant application information into the IDOT online system. I also produced a three minute video illustrating the needs and benefits of the sidewalk project as part of the project submission. This was the first time that a video had been used in a Safe Routes application, and IDOT people were very interested in it. Throughout the project, I maintained close contact with the IDOT coordinator to insure that our project would meet or exceed their application requirements.

Using this project management approach, while keeping a positive working relationship with the team members, allowed us to us meet the close deadlines and still submit a high quality application that should be very competitive based on the IDOT scoring criteria. Both parts of the application were submitted on-time. The first part was approved by IDOT without modification. The second part, the funding application for $247,759, is now being scored, and we expect to hear results in mid-to-late 2011.

If you have a need to complete an important project quickly, and / or need help with coordination of complex activities, please contact me and we can discuss if this approach will be beneficial for you.

Agency Activity

I periodically search on websites of state and federal agencies for announcements that I think might be particularly relevant to my clients.  Here are a few from January and February that might interest you:

IEPA announced 2011 Governor’s Green Youth Awards, for K-12 classrooms or students to submit environmental projects. Winners will receive a plaque. Deadline for entry is March 18. More info at http://www.epa.state.il.us/green-youth/index.html

Illinois Department of Agriculture has a new “Driftwatch” web-based program where growers can enter pesticide sensitive crops into a database, and pesticide applicators would be made aware of the location of those crops. http://www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/PressReleasesListShow.cfm?RecNum=9170

USDA: Disaster assistance for Livestock Producers Affected by Ice, Cold, and Heavy Snowfall. LINK

USDA: Conservation Reserve Program Signup Period Announced LINK LINK2

DCEO: Incentives for phase out of old style T12 fluorescent bulbs in public buildings
http://www.commerce.state.il.us/dceo/News/pr12142010.htm

   
I am currently monitoring press releases at these agencies:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
U.S. Housing and Urban Development

If you would like any other agency tracked that is not on this list, let me know.

Terry Quinn, P.E.

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About quinnserv
Quinn Services is a Municipal Administrator Services Company. It supports small to medium governments by providing management services for temporary or high importance projects, at a cost less than alternatives such as using an Engineering or Law Firm.

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