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Volume XXVIII, Number 5935
Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013

Parks Salutes Its Employees Of The Month (Part I)

Juernine Sheppard is Operations’ Employee of the Month for July.

After starting her career in public service with the Human Resources Administration, Juernine came to Parks in 2008 where she joined the team in Commissioner Kavanagh's office. Her first day was March 17, the unofficial start to the busy operating season. Since then, Juernine has been responsible for many projects as Assistant to the First Deputy Commissioner.
Currently, Juernine is our representative for weekly meetings of the citywide Rodent Task Force and West Nile Virus Task Force. In this role, she acts as a liaison between DOHMH, our borough operations, and citywide forestry and horticulture divisions. An important aspect of this program includes integrating new strategies for rodent baiting in parks near sensitive nesting areas for red-tailed hawks and larvicide application in natural areas during mosquito season.
Juernine is also the citywide coordinator of the Summer Meals program for Parks. This federally-funded program, administered on the local level by the Department of Education, aims to provide meals to low-income children ages 18 and under during the summer months. With over 100 NYC Park sites participating annually in this program, our agency is the largest satellite provider of DOE's partner agencies. Every summer, hundreds of thousands of free, nutritious meals are distributed to children and Juernine is instrumental to its continued success. In 2012 alone, we served almost 584,000 meals in 101 park, pool and camp sites across the city, which is no small feat. Juernine’s organizational and customer service skills help to keep the program running smoothly.
Juernine is also responsible for preparing the borough indicator reports and the agenda for the biweekly Agency Executive Management meetings with the Borough Commissioners. She oversees the responses to a wide range of constituent correspondences routed to the First Deputy Commissioner’s office, writing many of the letters herself.
Juernine is very organized and willing to help with any issue that arises in the First Deputy Commissioner's office. She is a caring and compassionate colleague, whose professional demeanor and positive attitude make her a pleasure to work with.
For her hard work and dedication, Jeurnine was nominated by Elizabeth Ripotola, Chief of Staff, and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.

Farrell Coates is the Public Programs Employee of the Month for July.

Farrell began his career with NYC Parks in 1997 as a Seasonal Playground Associate at East 54th St. Recreation Center. Since becoming a full time Parkie in 2004, he has worked at the Hamilton Fish, the Pelham Fritz, and the Jackie Robinson Recreation Centers.
His latest position is Center Manager of the Metropolitan Rec Center. In this role, Farrell oversees the operation of the Center’s indoor pool. He also creates and establishes programming, organizes building maintenance efforts, and schedules staff. Farrell works closely with the community by establishing partnerships and organizing local events.
You can measure Farrell’s success as a manager by the dedication he shows for his Center. He took over a building with unique challenges and has worked tirelessly to make sure everything is accessible, safe, and presentable. The building has seen numerous improvements under his watch, including the installation of new ceiling fans to alleviate the humidity and temperature levels, new exhaust fans, and a new dance room floor. He is always thinking ahead and has many more upgrades planned. The building is clean, bright & welcoming due in large part to Farrell’s vision.
Farrell has crafted a membership plan that takes his staff out into the community to spread the word on all the great things the center has to offer. He has taken care to learn the multi-faceted nature of Williamsburg and the surrounding neighborhoods to try to make Met Pool a place that truly serves the community.
Most recently, Farrell has been asked to assist with the management of McCarren Play Center. He has spent a lot of time teaching the young staff at the center and is helping to develop the new talent that we have brought on board. Farrell has split his time between the two centers, and he is easily able to oversee both with success. In the process, he has demonstrated strong managerial skills.
We are lucky to have Farrell on our team, as he is an incredibly smart and dedicated Parkie. He brings a level of professionalism that serves as a model for both his staff and other managers.
For his years of dedicated service and creative approach to his job, Farrell was nominated by Chief of Brooklyn Recreation LeRoy Temple, and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Tristan Porto is the Capital Employee of the Month for July.

Tristan started in August 2008 as a Landscape Architect Intern. Thanks to his exceptional dedication to his work and unprecedented talent, he was promoted to Assistant Landscape Architect in 2010.
Tristan tirelessly works long hours and accepts any challenge presented to him. He has proven himself to be an exemplary employee with unrelenting dedication and a strong commitment to sustainable design goals. In a few short years, he has learned how to design and manage a complete project from beginning to end.
Tristan has completed several designs since he began working at parks, including the Lillian Wald Playground and the Morningside 123 Street Playground. Both of these projects were completed on schedule and within budget. In the past year alone, his performance has been highlighted by several critical projects including the Wall Street ‘Charging Bull,’ and the Asser Levy Playstreet design.
Although he is a landscape architect, Tristan’s commitment to helping others compelled him to take action in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He eagerly volunteered to do construction site assessments throughout Manhattan on the day after the storm. He later went on to work with Central Forestry, supervising tree removal crews in the field. He continued to do this for more than three weeks, working twelve hour shifts seven days a week. His eagerness to throw himself into action reinforces his commitment to the mission of Parks and his fellow New Yorkers.
Originally from Wisconsin, he is an avid fan of his state's home teams: the Brewers, the Packers and his alma mater Wisconsin Badgers. He also volunteered in May 2010 to work with other Parkies in New Orleans to restore wetlands and help construct houses.
For his hard work and dedication, Tristan was nominated by Manhattan Team Leader Desmond Spillane and Deputy Commissioner Therese Braddick.


“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words,
or your reader will be sure to skip them;
and in the plainest possible words
or he will certainly misunderstand them.”

John Ruskin
(1819 - 1900)

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