If you ever wondered how to go about finding a kayak vending-machine, then you need to talk to Dave Catlin. Dave works as a Planner-Facilitator for the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program in the Interior Region. His main responsibilities are to assist NPS partners with organizational development, capacity building, and administrative functions. David describes his job as adding a “business perspective…. (F)or example, RTCA is helping Caldwell County, Missouri, develop an outdoor recreation plan for a new reservoir under construction there. Others on the team have gathered public input and drawn up a vision of what that plan might look like, with trails, fishing piers, boat ramps, campgrounds, disc golf courses, etc. My job has been to add my expertise and research to answer questions like, “What are all these ideas likely to cost to build? How much will they cost to maintain in the long run? Which of them will be able to generate fees that help support the project? And what sources of grants or private contributions can help make the plan components a reality?” So when Caldwell County adds kayak rentals to their project wish list David was able to suggest the “kayak vending machine” – a system that reduces staffing costs and add an income stream to the project at the same time.
Before joining the Experienced Service Program, David spent most of his career working with nature centers – managing them, planning new ones, assessing their accomplishments, training their staff, and the like. His career path includes stops with the Missouri Department of Conservation as well as the National Audubon Society. He heard about the position from a colleague whose organization was part of an RTCA program. He enjoys the variety of the work and the interaction with his peers. He actually worked as a seasonal park ranger for NPS. He is happy to come full circle back to an organization that has always been close to his heart.
In his spare time David enjoys bicycling, gardening, and bird watching. He also occasionally works as an on-board guest speaker for small cruise ships on the Great Lakes and along the northeastern coast. If he was able to invite anyone he wanted to a camp fire supper he would include Teddy Roosevelt for his historic perspective on conservation and to share his many adventure; journalist Nona Totenberg for her thoughtful and informed questions, author Bill Bryson for his lighthearted perspective; his personal friends Bruce and John; and of course his wife Ann.