Juno Beach, Fla. – Like having a car filled with gas and no key to drive it, Loggerhead Marinelife Center of Juno Beach, Fla. had a lot of data, and no analysts to make sense of it.
Then, Matt Barrows, manager of Florida Power & Light’s Distribution Quality and Analytics Group, called the center in February, looking for off-site space to hold a two-day strategy meeting.
Barrows also had an idea – something he had always wanted to try, but never had the right opportunity to do. Since FPL supports Loggerhead and its environmental programs that help endangered sea turtles, maybe his group of efficiency experts could do a Six Sigma exercise for the nonprofit organization as a side project. Six Sigma is a business strategy that employs quality management and statistics to improve results.
“I always thought it would be cool to give back in a different way, like putting our training and expertise to use for others,” Barrows said. “Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that what we learn and do here professionally may be just as valuable as volunteering in a more traditional sense. When I mentioned it to my supervisor, he said ‘go for it.’”
Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s development director, Deborah Jaffe, gave the group access to the data the center’s visitors provided about themselves, which was primarily addresses, and Barrows’ six-person team went to work.
Barrows and his team of efficiency experts volunteered to create an analytical report that cross-referenced the center’s visitor information with residential demographic data. The resulting presentation helped the Loggerhead development staff see clearly who they were serving and who they were missing, including where the majority of their visitors lived, an assessment of their demographics and whether they were Spanish-speaking residents.
Overall, the project will help development staff hone their marketing programs, better serve underprivileged audiences and improve communication with potential donors and supporters, Jaffe said.
“They did an absolutely fabulous job at Florida Power & Light with the analytical data project for the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. I’m a huge fan, and I’m so grateful,” Jaffe said. “The time and effort they spent (on this report) would have taken me a year-plus to do. The analysis helps us realize there is potential for us to reach more people from underprivileged neighborhoods who we assumed were visiting the center. The information not only puts us in touch with those in the low-income housing areas we are serving, but it also shows where we can do a better job in soliciting funds, since we are a free facility. It was a huge project that Matt Barrows’ team did for us.”
Barrows and his supervisor, Craig Stepien, FPL Director of Technology & Quality, credit the company’s cultural focus on innovation with inspiring the collaboration.
“Often innovation can be stifled before it has a chance to take off. Much like a coach, my job as a supervisor is to encourage employees to swing the bat without fear of missing the ball,” Stepien said. “Creativity and original idea creation do not take predetermined paths, so it’s important to encourage employees to explore and try. Fostering that kind of environment is what enables innovation to take place.”
Loggerhead Marinelife Center, 14200 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach, FL, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. In 2010, the center successfully rehabilitated and released a record-breaking 122 sea turtle patients. To learn more, visit www.marinelife.org.