As a sidebar to the documentary film, we are featuring web profiles of federal employees who also do something creative on the side. Meet Game Inventor and HHS employee Bayard Catron.
Q: Where do you work?
Health Resources and Services Administration, the agency of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services tasked with improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. I work in IT and project management. I oversee various initiatives related to showcasing data and statistics we make available for decision makers in our agency, in Congress, and researchers in educational institutions and in the public at large.
I started interning for the agency every summer while I was in college and started full-time in 1992. The work is rewarding because HRSA helps get health care to where it’s needed the most in the US – providing leadership and financial support in every state and territory. I am also greatly fortunate to work with some amazing people – my team is smart, dedicated and a lot of fun.
Q: What is your creative outlet?
When not working on my vocation, I spend my free time on my avocation – playing and creating board games. I organize a 2000+ member Meetup.com social group, arranging multiple events each month to bring together diverse players who want a face to face interactive experience – whether strategic or social. Playing games has proven to be a great way to form friendships and relationships – much more interactive than watching a movie, for example. The interplay of decisions, reactions, humor and emotional connection that can arise from a game, can result in lasting memories and strong bonds. All the friends I see most often are a part of my game group.
A sub-group of the meetup is interested in inventing games. Two friends and I published a party game, “Culture Pop” in 2011. While it has not yet seen widespread distribution, it got a warm reception from our players, and we sold all of the first print run. Another friend who also works for HHS invented a game called Get a Life that was developed by one of my Culture Pop cohorts, and it was picked up for distribution by R and R games in 2014. We are in a new golden age of games; an exciting time indeed!
Do you consider this a hobby or a second career?
Definitely a hobby for now, though I’m making lots of contacts in the industry and hope to dedicate myself to it more fully after my eventual retirement from Federal service.
Why is your creative outlet important to you?
For me, the answer is in the psychology of games. Board games themselves are fun, but really it’s about the players – how will they react to the game? What makes a game fun? What can a game make you feel? And so on. The possibilities are intriguing and near-infinite. Games connect people, they bring out the best (sometimes, worst) in us and they create experiences and memories to last a lifetime. They fascinate me!
How do you feel your creative outlet contributes to your federal work and vice versa?While they don’t overlap much, they are the two facets of my life and represent two sides of the same coin.
If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story.