From the GM’s Desk

Well, it is hot, the tourists are here, and so is hurricane season. We are turning the corner from the onslaught of summer visitors and are adjusting how we operate to the changing dynamics that occur during Saturday check-ins. First and foremost, if you want to miss the check-in traffic jams, try scheduling your errands for the morning or using the Pope Avenue Gate during the hours of 4 to 8 pm on Saturdays. I am well versed in this as we live up by the bridge, and the traffic is bumper to bumper with visitors trying to get on to Hilton Head. Many of them have driven long distances and are not as neighborly as one would hope about letting you merge into their lane. The solution for me is to plan to stay home for a few hours while they are coming on to Hilton Head. The solution for Shipyard operations is keeping our dispatch lane open as much as possible, encouraging owners to use the Pope Gate and using patrol, when available, to open the sliding gate at 278 to wave in cars with decals or cars that already have their passes. All of this, however, is subject to labor. With digital lock entries, many companies no longer give out keys so our officers are often the first person to answer questions for the visitors. Other issues affecting seasonal traffic are off-island accidents. Traffic can be stopped for long periods of time and suddenly when it opens again, it is extraordinarily heavy all at one time. Currently, the Security Committee and staff are reviewing continued options to keep things running as smoothly as possible during the summer. We appreciate the hard work of the staff and your cooperation as we get through these busy weeks and look at options for easing traffic congestion going forward. I recently returned from a family reunion in the northeast and experiencing the gridlock on I95 made me realize that our problems pale in comparison. We are beginning our work on the budget and will be briefing the Boardshortly on local labor conditions, costs and how we keep quality employees to make your life safe and comfortable in Shipyard. As we recently forwarded, we were all saddened to see the passing of Dennis Van der Meer who brought worldwide recognition to the Island and Shipyard. He touched many lives through his programs and coaching, and we are all better for having him devote his talents to our island and our Shipyard. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and we are all looking forward to fall and some cooler weather.