Daily Archives: July 16, 2008

Interview in Summer 2008 Issue of Inside ASH

Employee Profile:
Edward Bohls
Database Administration Manager

How long have you worked at ASH?
Four years in June. Tempus fugit.

What do you love about your job?
Data. Plenty of it. Lots of big data sets. I love getting to query, filter, parse, manipulate, and in any way deal with huge amounts of data. And our TIMSS database has something like 600 tables and hundreds of thousands of records.

What are your main responsibilities?
All things TIMSS. In addition to the aforementioned fun with data, I train every new employee on the basics of TIMSS during their first week at ASH. I then help anyone else with more complicated things, such as financial batches and accounts, inventory products and warehouses, the ASH store on the Web, membership orders and renewals, and mailing lists and directories. I also to fulfill the Blood subscription for members every two weeks. And on the rare occasion that something goes wrong with TIMSS, I help investigate and fix that, too.

Okay, so maybe not so rare.

Tell us your best annual meeting story or work-related ASH story.
I went to my first annual meeting this past year. It turned out to be surprisingly grueling. My favorite moment came when I was packing up the booth that sold the tickets for the ASH Bash about an hour before the actual event was to begin. There were apparently hundreds of attendees already at the aquarium, lining up to get in, but I was still at the convention center with the tickets and the lists. Ayuko called me on the walkie-talkie. She said, “Edward, we need you here. Run.”

I started running. Sprinting. It was only about half a mile or so, but I am, after all, in my mid-40s now. I didn’t do especially well. I ran as fast as I could for as long as I could. Then I jogged for as long as I could. Then I trotted. Then race-walked. Finally, I staggered. I was one sorry, panting, sweaty spectacle by the time I arrived at the aquarium, all of like four minutes later. And my legs were sore for days after that.

Tell us something you’re passionate about.
Ballet, of all things. Both watching and participating. My wife and I are subscribers to the Washington Ballet and the ballet at the Kennedy Center. We take ballet classes at St. Mark’s Dance Studio in Capitol Hill. There aren’t too many guys in the ballet classes – for years I was the only one – so Ms. Brooks, the director, choreographs a special pas-de-deux for my wife and me to perform in the recital every year. This year, we danced to a song from the Amelie soundtrack.

What’s your favorite lunch spot?
Clearly, Au bon Pain. I’ve eaten there pretty much every day for the past six years. For the first couple of years I would get the garden salad, then I switched to the fields & feta wrap for about a year, and then switched to the Mediterranean wrap for about a year. Now I’m back to the garden salad.

Do you have any fun summer plans?
My wife and I have booked a bicycle tour through western Ireland this summer. We’ll be riding between 20 and 30 miles a day, from one hotel or B&B to the next, around Connemara, which is mostly in County Galway.

What is your ideal weekend?
The ideal weekend would entail lots of sleeping, a little snoozing, and then some napping. In real life, my wife and I are in constant motion all weekend, getting up before 8:00 a.m. and going to the gym first thing Saturday morning. Then we go grocery shopping, have lunch, and do some sort of restoration project on the house for the rest of the day. Sunday is pretty much the same, but we go to church in the morning, and then more house stuff. The house is 85 years old, after all.

What question do you wish I would ask you?
How did you meet Al Gore, and did you really help deliver a baby?

Would you like to answer that question now? (in reference to question above)
I was working at a video store, around 1989, back before Al Gore was Vice President, back when he was a senator. He and Tipper and the kids lived nearby and rented videos from our store. We had a cardboard cutout of Chuckie, the little demon doll wielding a knife, standing up by the horror section. The Gores came in on a Saturday afternoon and rented some movies and left. But then, poor Senator Gore came back in to talk to a manager, which was me that day. Mrs. Gore thought that the cardboard Chuckie was too close to the children’s section, and she sent the Senator back in to ask us to move it. He was clearly pained at being ordered to do this. He went out of his way to make sure that I understood that it was his wife’s idea, not his. For some reason I found this terribly endearing. So, of course, I moved Chuckie for him.

At that same video store, one of our clerks got pregnant, and her boyfriend skipped town on her. She asked me to be her Lamaze partner. How could I refuse? So, we went to classes and practiced breathing and the whole deal. When she went into labor, they had to do a C-section. That was very disappointing after all those weeks of practice. I stood with her, though, holding her hand during the whole surgery. It’s a pretty serious procedure for the non-physician, let me tell you. And then I got to cut the umbilical cord. I sat with mom and baby in the hospital for the rest of the day, then never saw either of them again.

Outtakes from the Interview in Inside ASH

What is most helpful to you when working with employees in other departments?
Really, until Karina arrived just recently, being the sole TIMSS guy, everyone was from a different department. (Or else no one was.) It took me a while to figure out what everybody else did, but once I got a pretty good sense of that, it was easy to work with everyone.

In general, though, I just think of us all as ASH employees. I go with what Bruce Springsteen once said about recording his first record at CBS in the early seventies. Something along the lines of “If they had asked me to mop the floors, I’d have mopped the floors.”

Deleted paragraph from Favorite Lunch Spot question:
To be honest, though, this year I’ve been trying to be tad adventurous, going to lunch with Helena and Joe once a week. We’ve only been to Au Bon Pain once, and that was to get sandwiches to go, to eat sitting on the grass in Dupont Circle.

Where’s the farthest you’ve traveled?
I grew up in a military family, so we moved around a lot when I was a kid. Exotic places like Fort Sill in Lawton OK, Fort Bliss in El Paso TX, Fort Ord in Monterey CA, Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island IL. Pretty exciting, huh? I haven’t gone very far in my adult life. I drove once non-stop from St. Louis to Minneapolis by myself; it took about 18 hours. I spent a week at a resort in St. Lucia in 2000. By far the farthest I’ve ever gone was to Italy for my honeymoon in 2003. We spent eleven glorious days walking around Florence and Rome. I’d love to go back or even live in Florence some day.

What’s one of your favorite quotes (from a movie, song, poem, anything)?
I’ve always loved Harper’s last monologue from Angel’s in America, when she’s on the plane heading west. She ends with: “Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress, longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.” I use that quote at the top of my website and on my personal email signature. I saw the Alliance Theatre production of Angels in America in Atlanta in 1995. It was completely mind-blowing life-changing. Rhoda Griffis played Harper. Rhoda’s an amazing actor.

Full sentence regarding Chuckie:
Child’s Play had just come out on video, and we had a cardboard cutout of Chuckie, the little demon doll wielding a knife, standing up by the horror section.