News From The Ninth Arch

GGR February 2019

Stephen A. Balke
General Grand Recorder


Greetings Companions!

What an exciting time the last six months has been! Since taking office, there has been a flood of significant projects as well as the “normal” flood of work for the office. It is hard to draw a line between technology and Recorder, and the chance to optimize some of the business processes of the General Grand Council is something that is high on my priority list. While taking a “deep dive” into some projects, the normal duties (which inspire some of these projects), have been slower in fruition, but we continue to work the quarries!

MIC Daniel D. Hanttula, Oklahoma, has been integral to several of our recent wins!

  • As a reviewer of the Royal and Select Master, he pointed out several items which (while generating a good deal of work on the graphics) made the whole of it a better resource.
  • As the main implementor of the Online Marketplace, he went through two complete implementations as the scope changed. A LOT of work but done in a short amount of time. Our new shopping cart is not only scalable but conforms to both our current business rules and the forecasted next steps, including being able to sell on-site and keep an inventory.
  • The above projects not being insignificant, his real and ongoing contribution is a labor of love. MIC Daniel completely redesigned the site and presented it for approval at the Board of Trustees meeting on February 9, 2019 – where it was approved for use. He not only reformatted it, he also researched each aspect of the work being done and has created a presentation that is both conforming to best practices and explains the work so that non-Medical Professionals might be able to understand it. If you haven’t seen it, please do so!

The other projects that have seen some gains are not as apparent, nor are they as gilded.

  • We have successfully created a cloud-based storage system for the electronic files stored on the office computer so that those who need access have it – without relying on one machine to be running, and all the files are updated when edited by any one of us.
  • We are currently approximately 40% to completion on a central database project that will take our ongoing information off that same computer and make the information available to those who need it on an ongoing basis.
  • We have successfully adopted Zoom as a method of communicating with our Constituent Grand Councils and Councils – last week we had seven leaders from Mexico on a conference call that allowed us to distribute the Annual Returns and open an ongoing line of communication.

There are several more projects ongoing, but these are the highlights. We actually have enough work to keep many people busy for the balance of this Triennium. This has led to another project on the close horizon: a Jobs Board. The Deputy General Grand Master will fill you in on that in coming weeks.

Balancing the day-to-day work and implementing projects that affect the same has been interesting. We are currently in a good position to realize some of the advantages of technology, but we also need to have an appropriate transition. I appreciate the patience many of you have shown in this regard! One change that is intended in the near future is increasing the communication so that this office can not only address your needs more readily but also anticipate and become proactive in completing its tasks. Over the next month, we will start inviting the Grand Recorders to participate in conference calls to give them updates, get feedback, and create a more interactive communication standard.

Overall, we are working hard to not only keep the business going but to improve how we do it. Many thanks to the many Companions and Friends of the General Grand Council who have contributed their time, effort and a great deal of energy to make these things become a reality! We hope to keep creating a better future for our Craft!

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