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Volume XXVIII, Number 5891
Tuesday, Jul 02, 2013

Parks Salutes Its Employees Of The Month (Part II)

Carmen Flores is the Public Programs Employee of the Month for April.
Carmen’s career at Parks began in 1982 in the Brooklyn Borough office as an Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Operations. She later worked at Randall’s Island for the Chief of Citywide Services. In May 1995, Carmen joined the Manhattan Recreation team where she served as an Administrative Assistant to a total of six Chiefs of Recreation. Her institutional knowledge gained after working with Parks for over 30 years is invaluable.
As Administrative Assistant to Manhattan’s Chief of Recreation, Carmen oversees the administrative operations for the entire borough. Her duties include: directing all correspondence, coordinating evaluations, addressing 311 complaints, ensuring reports are submitted on time, and tracking the biweekly work schedule for staff, managers, and chiefs.
Being the administrative backbone of the office, Carmen is always friendly, courteous, organized, and timely with deadlines. She brings the highest level of professionalism and customer service to her position. It’s a well known fact that Carmen plays the role of superhero on payday. She methodically distributes checks to managers and staff, troubleshoots with payroll, and reroutes checks as necessary. It’s thanks to her that everyone gets paid on time.
All the little things that Carmen does to make Manhattan Recreation run smoothly make her deserving of this award. For her dedicated service to Parks, Carmen was nominated by Chief Kim McNeil, Chief Emily Chase, and Assistant Commissioner Annika Holder.

Adetula “Ade” Omolola is Management’s Employee of the Month for April.
Ade started his career at Parks as a Job Training Participant with the Parks Opportunity Program in 2005. Later that year, he started working with Operations & Management Planning, where he has been an inspector for the past eight years.
As an Inspector, Ade travels to every corner of the five boroughs, reporting on the safety and cleanliness of parks, playgrounds, comfort stations, recreation centers and golf courses. He is known amongst the OMP team for his thorough inspections and attention to detail. No matter how long a day he may have had, Ade always puts the same amount of care into the meticulous reports he produces. He is equally diligent in updating the database with new property information when he returns from inspections.
One day, Ade’s calm demeanor came in handy during an inspection when he encountered a disturbed individual waving a machete at some other patrons. Ade identified himself, calmed the man down and got him to relinquish the machete. Fortunately, this is not an everyday occurrence for our Inspectors.
After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering, Ade emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2001. He has continued to seek improvement in his leadership, customer service, time management and other skills by taking advantage of many courses at the Parks Academy. As busy as he is, last year Ade managed to volunteer with the POP Mentoring Program, spending six months providing direction and career guidance for a young man.
When he's not busy at work, he's busy at home, playing sports, volunteering at church, and raising three young children with his wife in Queens. In the fall, Ade will be returning to college to further his mechanical engineering studies, with a focus on computer aided design.
For his hard work and the example he sets for others, Ade was nominated by Assistant Director of OMP Alex Butler, Director Jun Lee, and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Helen Yanolatos is an Operations Employee of the Month for May.
Helen started working at Parks in January 2005 as an assistant to First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. She transferred to the Manhattan Borough Office on February 28, 2008 and has been an indispensable part of its operation ever since.
Helen prepares reports for Commissioner Castro, coordinates various park network meetings and follows up on issues raised. She is also the representative to Borough Service Cabinet meetings and to the Second Avenue Subway Interagency Task Force.
Whenever her office needs something done quickly and competently, Helen is the person they rely on to tie up loose ends. Keeping track of what needs to be done, she keeps the office in order.
Helen prepares agendas for weekly manager meetings for her borough. Before one such meeting, Helen was on her way to the office on a bus from the Bronx. The bus was caught in traffic on the Deegan because of an accident. Helen knew she was going to be late for the meeting, and only had a printed copy of the agenda. So Helen took a picture of the agenda and sent it to everyone who would be attending so that they would be prepared for the meeting. This is just one example of Helen’s resourcefulness, dedication, and calm demeanor.
Helen is a runner and participated in the recent Corporate Challenge in Central Park. She is also an adventurous foodie willing to try exotic and spicy dishes.
For her resourcefulness and devotion, Helen was nominated by Chief of Operations Nam Yoon, Commissioner William Castro, and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.

Elizabeth Jordan is an Operations Employee of the Month for May.

Elizabeth was recently hired by Parks in February 2012 to manage several tree contracts along the Belt Parkway. Her extensive background in project management in natural areas and parks set her apart from other candidates. In her relatively short time with the agency, Elizabeth has already made a lasting positive impression. She has proven to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, professional and willing to take on whatever comes her way. She is currently a Landscape Architect working with Queens’ Central Forestry, Horticulture & Natural Resources division.
Aside from the Belt Parkway project, she has also taken on many other peripheral projects since Superstorm Sandy. She has been a primary author on a proposal to create green infrastructure throughout Jamaica Bay’s watershed to improve the health of the bay. She has also performed site inspections after Superstorm Sandy, researched shorelines and coastal solutions, and participated in the City’s Special Initiative on Rebuilding and Resiliency. This work has led to her taking the lead on several dune initiatives, coordinating emergency work within Parks as well as with DEC and the Army Corp. These projects are now beginning the “construction phase” with more to follow soon.
Successfully performing all of these tasks while maintaining her role as a Landscape Architect, Elizabeth has always approached her work with a great attitude and sense of humor. She is a great asset to the agency and has emerged quickly as a leader and innovator in her division.
For her leadership and initiative, Elizabeth was nominated by Chief of Forestry, Horticulture and Natural Resources, Bram Gunther and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.


“Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger.”

Arnold Palmer
(1929 - )
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