Bikes for the World

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Featured Volunteer: William Nickel

TeraThink "Rim and Bare It" corporate group
When you think of Bikes for the World volunteers you may think of the collection managers who tirelessly put together successful bike drives year after year. Or our bike processors who stand in the rain or 90 degree temps prepping bikes for shipping pedal after pedal. Perhaps you think about the loaders who move thousands of bikes onto our containers or the third level stackers lifting those heavy bikes and putting them into the bike puzzle that makes are numbers soar.

But the one question every one of those volunteers always wants an answer to is: How many bikes? How many bikes fit in a container, how many bikes did you donate last year, how many bikes has Costa Rica gotten over the years, how many bikes do you donate locally?

William Nickel
Even though we always count everything, we haven't been great about keeping track. That's what volunteer William Nickel does. We know that we've collected 80,131 bikes since 2005 (it's gone up since the last time we updated our counter on the website!). We know that we had a 51.9% increase in 2012 from the previous year.

We know that Costa Rica and Panama are currently neck and neck for the top dog slot of bikes donated from Bikes for the World with 15,871 and 15,873 respectively. But a shipment to Panama scheduled this month will secure their lead.

Bill got involved with Bikes for the World back when we were working with Pedals for Progress. He immediately saw what we were doing and the importance for good record keeping. From the onset he has been tracking our shipments and created a eloquent spreadsheet in Excel to do so.

He's learned a lot about Excel over the years and even had to upgrade out of the 2003 version just to add all the exceptions he needed to the formulas to create the different tables and graphs necessary to capture how many bikes we've donated to which partner in which country. He recently added Bikes Shipped by Storage Location to track where we were actually shipping from. And now with the click of a button we can create visual graphs that capture our progress.

Courtesy William Nickel
Bill wasn't just doing this for Bikes for the World, he created great record keeping systems for another organization too. Imagine our horror when we learned that Bill needed a break. We knew enough about Excel to add a column of data but what Bill was doing for us was a magical mystery.

Bill took the time to sit down with us and go over everything he set up. He went over Excel functions, how they worked, how to set them up, how to maintain the complex  =SUMIFS('Are You Kidding Me'!$E$6:$E$263,'I'm Going To Be Able To Do This'!$B$6:$B$263,"Complex Programming",'When We're Done'!$D$6:$D$263,"2013"). And at the end of his short in depth tutoring session, we got it! It all made sense. The tables he labored over setting up worked. They worked bike magic for us. I asked about breakfast and he laughed. I KNOW there is an Excel formula that will make breakfast for you....I just need to find out what it is.

It's a powerful program and Bill took the time to study it and find a good fit for Bikes for the World. Over the years he tweaked and perfected it. And he made it easy to understand and use. He got us our numbers quickly and allowed us to share them with you. We know how important this is...it's why it's featured on our home page. And if you meander further into our website you'll even find the exact worksheet we use.

William Nickel we cannot thank you enough for your years of service. Our helmets are off in appreciation. Best of luck to you; we'll see you on the bike trails.


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