Monday, July 26, 2010

Rewarding Excellence

One of the most important events of the year at the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is when we recognize some of the great achievements that have been accomplished by our amazing team of professionals. The employee achievement award winners are all nominated by their peer and then selected by a cross functional committee that changes every year. This year we presented these award in the spring of 2010.

In the photos below the award recipient is the second from the left. I am on the left, and to the right of the awardee is Su Webb, NVRPA Chair, and Brian Knapp, NVRPA Vice Chair.

Heather Dunn has achieved recognition in the area of Programming. Heather developed new Scout programs and school tours attracting many younger visitors to the Carlyle House. She stepped into the role of Curator of Education in 2009 and seamlessly took over the volunteer docent program. Heather has also developed new materials for a number of existing public programs offered at the site.

Eric Ferguson has achieved recognition in the area of Above and Beyond. The last year was a challenging one for all of our operations and Eric had more than his share by transitioning from the busy season at Cameron Run to the busy season at Bull Run - just as the Festival of Lights was gearing up. Eric worked at both parks simultaneously, turning the Cameron operation over to a new manager while learning his new duties. When the snows hit, Eric stayed in his park the whole time plowing, shoveling and getting back open to the public as soon as possible. He also volunteered to help at other parks throughout the year including the Carlyle House and Algonkian.

Paul Hecky has achieved recognition in the area of Innovation. Paul brought a wealth of knowledge and new ideas to Brambleton which have resulted in improved playing conditions, new ways of caring for the course and new amenities that improve the golfer’s overall experience.

Ashley Kiser has achieved recognition in the area of Above-and-Beyond. Ashley quickly learned the installation procedures for the light show displays and became a leader for both the installation and tear-down processes. Once the lights were installed, he worked as the light technician after his normal park maintenance duties were through each day and provided the most trouble free Festival of Lights we’ve had so far. Ashley’s duties as light technician took on a whole new meaning after the heavy snows damaged many displays and much of the pathway lighting, which Ashley repaired in time for the show’s reopening.

James Short has achieved recognition in the area of Safety. Over the last year, James has improved the pre-season training and testing for coaches who use the Occoquan Reservoir for scholastic rowing. He has improved the procedures for monitoring of water and weather conditions and has worked with other rowing facilities to pass along safety protocols he has developed. James has even been able to reduce the instances of speeding by students and parents along the road leading Sandy Run Regional Park reducing the impact of the facility on the surrounding community.

Bryan McFerren has achieved recognition in the area of Cost Savings. The golf course at Algonkian has always been challenging to maintain due to the wet and flat conditions which exist. To deal with this, Bryan converted the rye grass fairways at Algonkian to Bermuda grass which needs less maintenance, water, fertilizer, fungicide and ultimately, less cost while providing the benefits and playability of a warm season grass.

Rich Bailey has achieved recognition in the area of Programming. Rich has displayed great creativity and skill in running the Junior Naturalist and Explorers day camps at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. All spots book each year at these popular camps which feature a varied and ever-changing set of indoor and outdoor activities, both within and outside the park. The camps enjoy many repeat campers each year and some even return as “Counselors-in Training.”

Becky Reynaldo, Azeana Roehn, Diana Lancaster, Kim LaPorta
The Finance Department has achieved recognition in the area of Above and Beyond. For the first time ever, our external auditors were unable to document any significant flaws or errors in the NVRPA financial records for 2009. This reflects the diligence these staff members have shown in tracking down inaccuracies in our finances and looking for ways to avoid mistakes made in past years. A fault free rating from auditors is a rare thing for any agency and ours’ is due to the hard work of these staff members.

Kevin Ruuska has achieved recognition in the area of Above and Beyond. Kevin is always taking on tasks not in his job description and does it with enthusiasm and a smile. As Chef at the Atrium, he can often be seen outside the kitchen helping clean the facility, setting up the rooms for upcoming events and helping with whatever tasks need to be accomplished.
Adam Melton has achieved recognition in the area of Versatility for his service to staff and NVRPA. Adam has taken on many new responsibilities in the IT department one being the task of setting up new types of equipment. Adam has also worked closely with the Operations and Marketing staff to provide technical support and insight on website development plans.

Charlie Anderson has achieved recognition in the area of Above and Beyond. Charlie volunteered to drive the NVRPA float in the George Washington’s Birthday parade in Alexandria and the proceeded to do the same each time we participated in a parade. In each case he gave up a holiday and his skill at maneuvering the truck and trailer through typically crowded street conditions was exceptional.

Casey Pittrizzi has achieved recognition in the area of Programming. Casey’s work as our Roving Naturalist has brought nature interpretation to facilities and park visitors who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to learn about the wonders of our environment. Casey scheduled and marketed the more than 99 programs he hosted through out the season. Casey obtained his own materials and delivered quality programs to almost 5000 people throughout the spring, summer and fall. He even brought his programs to the Holiday Village at the Festival of Lights adding a fourth season to his schedule.

Tony Blevins has achieved recognition in the area of Above and Beyond. Tony lost several staff members at a tough budget time when we had a hiring freeze in place. He was able to maintain the high standards of care that Pohick Bay Golf Course is known for by creatively managing his staff time and taking on more of the daily operations himself.

Steve Bergstrom
As Director of Finance and Budget, Steve has transformed those departments into award winning, vital operations within NVRPA. The Finance Department has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and the Budget Department has won the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, each two years in a row. His departments are recognized by other staff as being exceptionally helpful in supplying information needed in our decision making processes and they are seen to be especially nimble and flexible in providing services. For the first time in NVRPA history, our outside auditors were unable to find any flaws in our 2009 financial records. Steve has provided informative, easy to understand financial reports to the NVRPA Board, thereby inspiring confidence in our management and operations.

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