An Agency Supervisor's Viewpoint
Interview with Youser Anson
by Elizabeth Caraker
In the past five years, the Pohnpei State Tourist Commission has
requested and received four technical assistants (TAs) from the
Micronesia and South Pacific Program. The major purpose of the commission
is to promote Pohnpei as a tourist destination. Although each of the
projects defined in the commissions requests for assistance have been
oriented toward promotion and marketing, the commission benefited from
the assignments by acquiring a wide variety of skills over the years.
Youser Anson, executive director of the tourist commission and supervisor
to each of the TAs, requested technical assistance with skills he felt
were lacking in his office, designing projects around areas that needed
improvement. For each project Youser selected the member of hisstaff
whose skills would benefit the most from working with the technical
From his experience Youser thinks the best TA-counterpart team is created
when participants spend more than twenty hours a week together. In order
to build a solid relationship, the TA and counterpart need to learn about
each others cultural differences, thought processes, and work habits.
Youser believes the relationship that develops between team members
fosters an environment of confidence and motivation that leads to
successful skills transfer and project results.
Tourist commission staff members continue to use and develop the skills
they acquired from the TAs. Practical skills, such as computer
processing, designing and updating brochures, and customer service, seem
to transfer most successfully. In 1993 one TA created a site development
plan to which Youser regularly refers for prioritizing site development
and designing annual budgets.
Youser has seen his office mature and develop during his four-year term
as executive director. Much of this progress he attributes to the
presence of the TAs, who have provided fresh perspectives. They open our
eyes to what we are doing, he says. Each member of his office staff has
had the opportunity to work with a TA, and Youser claims that the
transferred skills have increased the offices overall ability to serve
its main objective: providing services to the visitor.
Elizabeth Caraker recently received her masters degree in community and
regional planning from the University of Oregon. She headed a team of
three technical assistants who worked on a land use planning project in
Pohnpei. Elizabeth resides in Pohnpei, where she continues her work for