Carl Gatto of ALF’s Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse was honored with an ALF Len Hadley Volunteer Award during the American Lighthouse Foundation’s annual Lighthouse Gala, which was held at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, on April 29, 2018.
Carl Gatto became a Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse (FOWIL) volunteer in 2016, after taking his first trip to the island as a guest during the summer of 2015. In 2016, he assumed the responsibility of becoming a tower host, continuing in this role during the summer of 2017. Each year, Carl has fit in as many trips as possible, given his work schedule as a programmer in Portland.
In the winter of 2017, FOWIL decided it needed a new reservation system, with the goals of minimizing the amount of volunteer effort required to manage over 1000 guests throughout the summer season and to make reserving a space on the boat easier for guests. Carl took on this task enthusiastically and quickly identified a number of possible systems that could meet FOWIL’s needs. Carl tested several of them and found one that was the most viable in terms of cost and functionality. Upon approval of the purchase, Carl convened a group of reservation volunteers to produce a list of functional requirements. He built the system, produced an exceptionally detailed and useful manual, and trained the reservation volunteers.
As the summer arrived, Carl monitored every single reservation that came in, both for system functionality, and for obvious errors that guests made. Going above and beyond, Carl often emailed the guest to resolve the issue rather than relying on the reservation staff. During the summer, the software maker introduced new capabilities to automatically manage waitlists and Carl quickly rebuilt portions of the system to accommodate the new functionality; all in time for the busy Maine Lighthouse Day reservation flow! Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Carl is beginning to completely rewrite the manual to reflect the far simpler reservation process for volunteers.
Carl doesn’t just do work (and plenty of it); he takes ownership of an issue and doesn’t let go. He solves the problem elegantly, making FOWIL’s operations better. His reward for so many contributions is, of course, more work, having recently become the newest member of the Chapter’s Executive Committee. Carl’s many contributions are in the finest tradition of lighthouse volunteerism, and so the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse take great pleasure in recognizing him as their 2018 Len Hadley Volunteer Award recipient!