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Land Trust Alliance

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The original project involved the scheduling of staff and volunteers at the Land Trust Alliance's (LTA) seven-day annual conference in Nashville, which took place from October 12th through the 17th, 2006.


Our contact at the Land Trust Alliance was Andy Weaver, a database administrator with the not-for-profit organization.


During the LTA'S conference there were approximately 300 individual events that needed to be staffed. The rally consisted of about 150 workshops, 13 field trips, and 36 seminars. Other components that needed to be managed are dinners, breakfasts, and side meetings; as well as setup and clean up for the various events. Some of the events ran concurrently while others ran consecutively. It was also necessary to staff each event so that no particular staff person was 'double-booked.' The problem for the Land Trust Alliance was coordinating the staffing of all 300 events so that each event was properly staffed and no Staffer was scheduled during concurrent or overlapping events. In addition, the schedule needed to be user-friendly so as to enable the Staffers to know where they were supposed to be for any given event.



Appendix A shows a work plan similar to what we would be using this year. Each day had similar but different schedules. Some of the main tasks were:

* Registration and Orientation

* Regional Receptions

* Field Trips

* Seminars

* Lectures

* Lunch and Facilitated Breakout Sessions

* Concurrent Workshops


Since this is a business scheduling problem, the only resources available to us are the staff people who are going to man the various tasks and activities and the capabilities of the software package to help schedule the conference. The staff need to be scheduled efficiently so as to ensure the smooth running of the conference. In total there were 60 staff people (Land Trust Alliance and volunteers), 20 served as Contacts and 40 served as Staffers.

The Contacts were to oversee the Staffers, so for any given event a single Contact could oversee two particular Staffers; while at a later event that same Contact would possibly oversee three different Staffers. Similarly, the first two Staffers would be overseen by different Contacts during subsequent events.



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