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Cooping with a Pandemic.


What do you do when a pandemic puts you in front of a computer screen on Teams Meetings over 95% or more of your time at work and you are normally used to traveling to see customers sometimes over 100 days a year? How do you keep your project management skills honed when you customers are delaying all their projects? Personally, I need a project for the evenings and weekends to keep my sanity.


Since in New Jersey we were in lockdown, homebound and struggling to get groceries for a few months, I decided to take on a project that would also add some food security on to our mini-farm, called the “Studer Ranch.” My wife always wanted to have chickens for the fresh eggs and we had an old pony shed behind our main horse barn that was seriously in need of an overhaul. So, we decided we would be salvaging our run-down shed and repurposing it as a chicken coop.




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As often most projects go, the timeline became very short, and it didn't help that my wife decided to order the 13 newborn chicks in the middle of April (adult egg laying chickens were sold out for the foreseeable future at that point) and to raise them in a brooder in our basement....for a while.
And every day the chicks grew, and I felt that all too familiar pressure that drives me to get the job done, which I think really helped me keep my sanity. In many ways this experience was not very different from my project work with Messer: I obtained permits and passed inspections, then hired an electrician and a roofer to keep the project deadline on track, which, after a few change orders, is now October. I did, however, run into some unwanted excitement when I had to evict a raccoon from the attic and when I dropped a couple of feet into a (thankfully) abandoned ground hog den that was under the original dirt floor.


So, here is the status of my project after 5 months I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.