Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our recent 2022 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write and imagine their characters.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Fleet Captain Oddas Aria playing a female Bajoran Commanding Officer assigned to Denali Station. He won the Sarek Star: “Awarded to Commanding Officers who show great diplomatic ability in working with members and staff, related to conduct Out of Character.”
DeVeau: Hey Nicholas, I know we’ve interviewed you before, but would you share about yourself again for those who are new?
Oddas: Sure – I’m a software developer in my 40s living in Florida, father of 4, married for right at 20 years. I’ve been working from home for around 20 years in a variety of fields ranging from natural resource development to higher education, and the US space program. I’m currently working on tools for another government agency.
One thing mentioned was that you serve as the Captain-At-Large (CAL). Would you tell us a little about this role?
I see the CAL sort as the Commanding Officer’s representative on the Executive Council – it’s not a regular voting role, but it’s a way for COs to have a voice on things, provide some feedback and see the inner workings of the EC which they might not otherwise see.
I also try to hold regular meetings with Commanding Officers and file regular reports and keep my door open if anyone has questions.
You also serve as a Deputy Commandant on the Training team. Would you tell us about this role as well?
The Deputy Commandant organizes classes, finds volunteers, and gets them into the appropriate roles. During each class, they also provide support for the class staff, much in the same way, the class staff provides support to the cadets.
Why did you step into these particular positions, and what do you enjoy about them?
I always enjoyed my time in the Academy – as a Mock Cadet, a First Officer, and a Commanding Officer – and I wanted to be more involved, so I asked to join the team in the Deputy Commandant role. I still really enjoy being involved in seeing how cadets progress through the Academy and how we can improve that process.
As far as CAL goes, I think Rich first asked me if I would be interested, and then when the position came up for a vote I accepted the nomination. Being able to support my fellow COs is something I really enjoy.
What is one of the hardest things about working with people, and how do you press through these challenges?
Anyone who spends time with me knows I am naturally introverted, which can make working with people a little draining. One way I work through this is to remember that most people are coming to whatever issue we are discussing from a place of genuine concern – even if I don’t agree or see it. Remembering this means more patience and more willingness to hear concerns.
Another thing I do is find a couple of people I can confide in and talk through things offline – away from the issue. I let myself get a ‘gut check’, and work through my ideas, so I know I’m not just working through my own personal issues.
Finally, I find there are a few issues where it is ok to just let it sit overnight. Most issues that come up do not require an immediate response, even if they feel like they do. Putting a few hours between me and the issue lets me recharge.
What do you feel is the most important thing to remember when working with others?
I try hard to remember that people have the best intentions, and with that in mind, it’s best to hear them out and address their concerns – while clearly stating your own concerns and your own motivations. Levelling the playing field and acknowledging everyone is in the situation together can go a long way toward finding a solution.
Thanks for your time, Fleet Captain Oddas!
You can read more about Fleet Captain Oddas Aria on the wiki.