Interview With Carmyn Shute

From the interview with Carmyn Shute of Port Townsend conducted by Patience Rogge at the Fort Worden History Center on April 14, 2011.

Ms. Shute is Conference Coordinator 3 at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center, where she has worked for 12 years.  Here she describes how her work has changed and evolved over the time she has been with State Parks:

“When I first began with Fort Worden I was working in the camping office and was kind of bored with it and tried to learn a little bit more about the conference end of things.  I took a few classes on my own, did a lot of listening and learning, and a position opened up as a Customer Service Specialist 2 working under Susan Thomas at that time.  I did that for a few years and soon decided that again I wanted to learn more.  So I worked with Steve Shively, the conference Programs Manager and took some more classes to get more educated, and then started working more and more on conferences on my own.  Then Mr. Shively wanted to start a program called the Complete Meeting Package Program(CMP), which means that people make conference reservations online.  There are a lot of factors that go into that, a lot more working one on one with clients to make their programs and their conferences work.  That was really intriguing for me.  We went to State Parks and said that I wanted to become a conference coordinator and that this was the line of work we wanted to go into and it really fell within the Lifelong Learning Plan and the mission at Fort Worden.  After a couple of years of wrangling they gave it to me and now I am the only official conference coordinator here at Fort Worden.“

About changes at the Park:

“I’ve seen a lot of upgrades in the housing and some in the dormitories.  I’ve seen changes in policy.  It used to be that we would never allow anything to happen on the Parade Grounds, and now we are—like the tribal canoe journey event and different things like that.  I’ve seen greater participation from the Partners here at Fort Worden and things they’re trying to do.  Centrum was kind of struggling there for a little while, they’re losing money from the Legislature.  What we’ve done to relieve them of some of that pressure and let them put on the programs that they do so well is that I am now doing all of their housing and meal arrangements as a CMP program for their four largest: Fiddle Tunes, Jazz Port Townsend, Blues, and Voice Works programs.  They’re not having to hire extra people and have that extra expense.  It is all being done through my office and online.  So, that Partner is able to do more with the people they have and really concentrate on programming.  Madrona Mind/Body is putting on more classes and more overnight accommodations.  I fully expect Third Ear to start doing the same. [Note: Third Ear is no longer located at Fort Worden]  The Port Townsend School of Woodworking has folks in house right now.  One of the biggest things I’ve seen is that all these Partners coming into Fort Worden are now utilizing a lot of the housing and food services more within the last year than ever in the past.  So, that’s one of the nice things.”

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