Jobs at DOC: Keri Ford, Knowledge and Information Advisor

Department of Conservation —  11/03/2016

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Keri Ford, Knowledge and Information Advisor in Wellington.

Keri Ford.

Keri Ford

At work…

Some things I do in my job include:

I work on DOC’s document management system, developing ways to help people create and store all their work electronically.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

I help people find the information they need to do their job and give them a sound base for decision making. I also help to ensure that we comply with our legislative responsibilities under the Public Records Act.

The best bit about my job is:

That moment when you know you’ve really helped someone, that may be giving them a new search technique that helps them find just what they want, or recovering the work they feared was lost. I have found DOC staff to be likeable and appreciative and I thoroughly enjoy interacting with them.

Document management training.

Document management training

The funniest DOC moment I’ve had:

It was actually in my own time, going to Kapiti Island. My great great grandfather Thomas Ransfield came from America and was a whaler based there, so I feel  a personal connection to the place.

When we landed, the ranger told us stories of the island and how we mustn’t feed the birds and that this might be hard as the birds are insistent. While he spoke a kākā listened thoughtfully and afterwards my partner brought out a large home baked Anzac biscuit, as the talk had made her hungry. The kākā spying that biscuit landed on her shoulder and stepped up her arm. He got a firm hold of the biscuit, fought and won possession of it. He then flew, the biscuit in his beak, eyed the ranger within an arms-length and I felt he delivered the punch-line of the story.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is:

Well I don’t want to pick one. DOC to me is about what we achieve together. If I had to choose a single person I’d choose Lucy Hoffman, because she is an ideal leader, she gets things done, is a joy to work with, brings out the best in everybody, will make the tough decisions but always relying on the best advice she has available and with it all maintains a great sense of humour.

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that:

My father was a successful artist, John Bevan Ford who has works in museums around the world, I really like his works. He was prolific, energetic and I thought his work kept getting better as he got older, there are plenty of New Zealand birds and landscapes nestled under the cloaks that he wove in the sky. On top of that he was a thoroughly likeable human being. Through him art became an integral component of my life, my love of music and painting came through him, I even quite like playing with Photoshop:

Keri Ford photoshopped into Kahurangi National Park.

A beautiful spot!

My happy place is:

Riding through the Queen Elizabeth Park on the fantastic new cycle lane. I think bicycles are amazing pieces of technology, they don’t burn fossil fuels, they give you regular exercise and they don’t cut you off from the environment around you. You see the ranges on one side and blackberries and scrub on the other. It is fantastic riding with no smelly cars blowing smoke in your face on a route that has been designed for bikes, no steep inclines, beautiful winding rises.

My hero is:

Elon Musk, he is that rare capitalist who has a great sense of vision and belief  in that he seems to be a business man who is driven by a desire to build a better future. This will transform our transportation so it doesn’t run on fossil fuels. He has created electric cars that are fast, good looking, safe and people really want. By the end of next year they hope to be building an affordable mass market car that will have a range in excess of 200 miles and I think it could be a game changer. On top of that he’s chairman of SolarCity, speeding the uptake of renewable energy production and if that is not enough he’s working on developing reusable rockets and establishing a human colony on Mars. Oh and then there is the hyperloop.

Keri Ford in Hobbiton.

Returning home to Bag End with my daughter


Deep and meaningful…

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is:

“When things get hard remember to enjoy something everyday”. My sister Stella shared this with me when I was going through some hard times, there is no way of going through life without having some, tough times will occur at work or home, everyone will experience the death of friends and family. It came in handy last year when Stella died of cancer, she showed me how tough situations can be faced with good grace and humour. Miss you Stella.

In work and life I am motivated by:

Having great people around me who are happy to share their excitement on Information Management issues (they’re a bit geeky) and also talk of music, art, culture travel, climate change and conservation and whatever amuses them. It makes all the difference working in a fantastic Team.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

Albatross World by John Bevan Ford.

Albatross World by my father John Bevan Ford

Appreciate what’s around you, make your back yard abundant with vegetation, natives, fruit trees, vegetables, flowers and not concrete. Trust and nurture the impressions of joy you get from nature, it’s good for you. I think only if we love nature will we preserve it, our species and all others depend upon it. On that note I’ll hand you over to William Wordsworth:

……And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean, and the living air

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things.