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Volume XXVIII, Number 6008
Thursday, Dec 26, 2013

Parks Salutes Its Employees Of The Month (Part II)

Steve Groce is Public Programs’ Employee of the Month for November.
Steve began his career in Parks in 1998 as a Playground Associate and quickly won over his supervisors and colleagues with his work ethic, determination and positive attitude. He became a Deputy Center Manager in 2006 and was promoted to Center Manager at Metropolitan Pool in 2011. Steve currently serves as the Center Manager for St. John’s Recreation Center in Brooklyn.
As Center Manager, Steve is responsible for the maintenance and programming at St. John’s. He supervises staff, prepares reports, and collaborates with the community on various projects.
Since taking the helm at St. John’s, Steve has been working tirelessly to improve the aesthetics of his Center. He understands that when the building itself looks clean and inviting, membership at the Center will increase. Steve has personally taken on many of these “make over” projects, including laying flooring in the new bike room and painting the weight room. Along with a small crew, Steve also sanded, painted, and polyurethaned the sparkling floor of the basketball court.
These projects have not only improved the overall look of the Center, but they have also increased membership and saved the agency thousands of dollars. It goes to show how a little elbow grease, imagination, a good attitude, and the will to excel can allow you to achieve anything.
When not at St. John’s, Steve loves to spend time with his family and go fishing.
For his leadership and “can-do” attitude, Steve was nominated by Brooklyn Chief of Recreation LeRoy Temple and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Gregory Youngs is the Capital Employee of the Month for November.
Greg began his career at Parks in March 2011 in the POP program. He was working at the Olmsted Center Operations Office when the job posting for an assistant in Map File was issued. Greg was hired for the job because of his experience in private sector records retention and began working in Map File Unit in October 2011.
Greg’s duties include researching requests for information about parks, playgrounds, and buildings for the in-house design staff, M&O, and Legal. Greg also boxes and prepares inventories for large amounts of documents for off-site storage.
Greg possesses top-notch customer service skills. On a daily basis, he interacts with many different offices and he is always friendly and considerate.
His people skills are only surpassed by his diligent work ethic, which was on display after Hurricane Sandy. Greg worked tirelessly under difficult conditions to restore the Map File operations by hanging and drying wet documents and updating files to record damage. He did all of this while continuing to provide service to our users. Greg’s actions in the storm’s aftermath illustrate his commitment and resiliency in adverse conditions.
In his spare time, Greg enjoys spending time with family, reading, and horse racing. He also cares for the many “Olmsted Cats” by providing daily food and fresh water.
For his dedication, Greg was nominated by Director of Document Services Steven Rizick and Deputy Commissioner Therese Braddick.

Jules Smoquina is the Management Employee of the Month for November.
Jules began with Parks in the Spring of 2000 as a volunteer for the Computer Resource Centers. Within six months he was hired to assist with the maintenance and repair of over 150 computers at 10 different Computer Resource Centers. Jules currently serves as a Senior Technician.
In this role, he oversees the installation and regular maintenance of over 350 computers, printers, and other equipment for all CRC locations throughout the City. Jules travels many miles in his Prius, with crimper and capacitor in hand. He genuinely enjoys his day-to-day journey through the five boroughs, responding to the CRCs in most need of his attention. From the upper Bronx to the Far Rockaways to southern Staten Island, Jules responds to technical troubles without a complaint.
He knows it like the back of his hand and always completes repair jobs with accuracy and diligence. In November of this year, Jules received a Best of New York City award for Excellence in IT Support and Service from DoITT. We, of course have known of this excellence for many years.
In his free time, Jules is a musician and plays blues guitar.
For his craft and reliability, Jules was nominated by Director of Computer Resource Centers Ana-Maria Campos and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Sam Pedreiro is the Commissioner’s Employee of the Month for November.
Sam joined NYC Parks as an Urban Fellow in October 2012, just a few weeks before Hurricane Sandy. Since then, she’s worked on a number of special projects, including post-storm briefings for waterfront communities; the Rockaway mural project; fundraising proposals; and more. In recent months, Sam has dedicated her time to managing the day-to-day operations of the NYC Parks Fellowship and Conservation Corps program, which began in September.
The Conservation Corps is a privately-funded program designed to help create the next generation of leaders for parks, and includes 9-month placements at divisions across Parks, as well as ongoing professional development opportunities and service projects. To recruit strong program participants, Sam contacted dozens of universities across the country and spoke to many students about the program at career fairs. She then personally reviewed all 537 applications and helped to interview over 100 candidates.
As a result of Samantha's work, NYC Parks welcomed 29 terrific Corps members this fall. Sam guided these new staff members through their program orientation, which included lectures and site visits, and advised and matched participants to supervisors and work assignments throughout the agency. She has continued to mentor the Corps members, and regularly meets with supervisors to ensure that the program is a successful and enriching experience for all.
Sam has also worked with staff across the agency to arrange over 100 hours of professional development activities, including informative introductions to parks across the five boroughs, the Urban Field Station, the Bronx River, and the 5-Boro Green Roof, and has arranged roundtable conversations with past Parkies, including Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway. Perhaps even more impressively, Samantha has arranged Parks’ volunteer projects and joined Corps members in dedicating approximately 1,000 hours of service in just two and a half months!
Samantha is recognized not only for these great accomplishments, but also for her undeniable enthusiasm and dedication to her work. Whether it’s managing our Corps members or painting surfers and sea gulls on the barriers in Rockaway in 95 degree heat, Sam is ready to lead with a smile!
For her charisma and achievements, Sam was nominated by Director of Strategic Initiatives Allegra Blackburn-Dwyer, Deputy Chief of Staff Vicki Cerullo, and Commissioner Veronica White.


"I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places.
He told me to quit going to those places."

Henny Youngman
(1906 - 1998)

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