2013 William V. Haskell Distinguished Professional of the Year Award

Lucky D’Ascanio

Falmouth Town Manager Nathan Poore presented Lucky D’Ascanio with the 2013 William V. Haskell Distinguished Professional of the Year Award

Here are some excerpts from Nathan Poore’s award presentation to Lucky:

“It is an honor to have Lucky on the Town of Falmouth Team and we are especially proud of her well deserved nomination and presentation of the Willian V. Haskell Distinguished Professional of the Year Award.

Lucky is an outstanding professional, lending herself to her state and national associations. It is not easy to be a Parks and Recreation Director in a small or large community and when you add the responsibilities of leading professional associations, the job gets tougher.

In my experience as a Town Manager, some department heads do very well managing their area of expertise and there are some managers that bring more to the table. Lucky is a shining star in that she gets the big picture. She is a strong advocate for her department yet she also understands the competing demands on the entire organization. Lucky can perform well managing her department, Lucky can perform well assisting other departments and Lucy can perform well managing projects that impact the entire community and other departments. Lucky can do her job and Lucky could do my job.

Lucky understands her community and its needs. She delivers many programming opportunities that is overwhelming diverse yet without sacrificing quality. She and her staff perform at a level town managers can only wish for. She and her staff have established a level of respect and confidence which requires very little oversight. Successfully managing a diverse Community Programs Department is challenging by itself but when you offer a skill and dedication beyond what is expected, you have an team asset or shining start that should be emulated by others. Lucky is our shining star. Here are some examples/highlights of Lucky’s “above and beyond” accomplishments:

Land Management Team: cooperative with establishing where the tasks are placed regarding use vs maintenance; hikes on 1000 acres of new open space; ox teams; mapping; brochures; etc.
Shop Falmouth: new event in 2012 and tied mostly to economic development not Parks and Recreation.
Facilities Committee: 2 years serving on a staff/citizen committee leading to a voter referendum question. She said: “give me a broom and a bucket of paint and I will transform and old elementary school into a community center”
Managed two old elementary schools for two years: security and alarm systems (top on the list of contacts); sale of surplus school department personal property; and managing toilets.
Town Report: assists the Assistant Town Manager with this task.
In-house dentist
School programming and sports registration and revenue collection program.

Lucky adapts so well to change but knows when and how much to push back. She survived organizational structure changes to her department in 2008 and again in 2013. The earlier changes resulted in promotions for Lucky and her staff. The latter change moved the Parks division back to Community Programs. And with Parks, came the task of managing a great deal of open space. Lucky’s adaptability is an important aspect of team leadership. Recently, the new Finance Director instituted significant changes in how departments manage AP, Payroll and budgeting. Lucky was initially concerned that she did not have experience with some of the new tasks but her concern was not packaged as a complaint. It was stated as an acknowledgement that she would now have to learn something new. She was one of the first departments to embrace the new system rather than express frustration.

Interpersonal relationships are important for any good leader. Lucky understanding this concept and has naturally forged relationships at all levels: citizens; elected officials; committees; school department; municipal departments; town manager; professional associations and her supporting staff team. She will be the first to admit that a good leader is only as strong as those that they surround themself. Matt, Kate, Heidi, Denise, and the entire cast of part time employees work incredibly well together and they enable Lucky to succeed beyond what would be possible without their loyal and unwavering public servitude. And like all of us in this wonderful local government profession, we can not succeed without the support of our families. Lucky is so proud of her family. Mike, Nick and Lauren mean the world to her. I have seen many photographs and heard many stories about their accomplishments. We are so happy that her family shares her with all of us in this room.

Congratulations Lucky – you are a shining star for all of us!