2006-06-23 / Society

Columbia resident stars in national commercial

By Sydney Kornegay

After spending 45 years working for the federal government, Walt Douglas finally experienced his 15 minutes of fame. The longtime employee of USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service was selected by the Office of Personal Management (OPM) to star in a nationally aired commercial.

The commercial was part of a federally sponsored ad campaign designed to promote awareness and interest in government jobs. Faced with a growing number of retirees and a lack of new applicants, the OPM hoped to inform younger workers of the benefits offered by federal positions.

According to Amy Maxwell, a spokeswoman for the USDA-NRCS in South Carolina, Walt Douglas was chosen to star in one of the commercials because of his commitment and enthusiasm for his job. Douglas is head of the USDA-NRCS in S.C. and helps landowners and farmers throughout the state to conserve and protect their soil and water resources.

The commercial was filmed earlier this year by a professional film crew from Myrtle Beach. The crew spent over eight hours shooting the footage on farms in Horry and Lexington County. The end result was a 30-second commercial starring Douglas and highlighting the work of the USDA-NRCS.

The media campaign was launched in early May at the National Press Club. Douglas' commercial, as well as four others, are being aired throughout the nation.

"They were even featured on the Survivor finale," said Maxwell. "We have people calling all the time saying they've seen the commercials."

The commercials can be viewed on www.opm.gov/Video-Library/Recruitment Showcase.

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