On Wednesday Night October 24th Pickens County Recreation Departments Superintendent of Maintenance Eric Chalkiadi was awarded the 2007 Georgia Recreation & Park Association District 5 Outstanding Facilities & Grounds Staff Member of the year!
The Award Banquet which was hosted at Red Top Mountain State Park was well attended by District 5 agencies and the GRPA President (Bill McNair of Baldwin Co.) and Executive Director (Jimmy Gisi of Conyers). All in attendance agreed that Mr. Chalkiadi deserved the award which was presented by his Supervisor Greg Walker, Recreation Director for Pickens County. The following letter is the award nomination form submitted by Mr. Walker which was unanimously approved by the District 5 Awards Committee.
Georgia Recreation and Park Association, Inc.
Outstanding Facilities & Grounds Maintenance Staff Member Nomination
This nomination is long overdue for Eric Chalkiadi. Eric is the Superintendent of Maintenance for the Pickens County Recreation & Parks Department in Jasper, Georgia. He has been employed for over 8 years and never ceases to amaze me with the way he attacks each days work schedule as if he is still trying to impress a new boss. Pickens County has experienced monumental growth in the past 20 years and our park system has been unable to keep up and meet the needs of the citizens, both budget wise and manpower wise. I can assure you without Eric the level of service we are currently able to offer would not be possible!
Eric has done his best to stay current in all aspects of Park Maintenance by attending seminars offered through GRPA and through studying Parks Maintenance Trade Journals. He has been a Member of GRPA for several years and has attended our Annual Conference to improve his skills. He is always looking at ways to improve his knowledge and keeps an extensive library of all learned "tricks of the trade".
He has never hesitated to offer his assistance to our local school system. They use our parks for games and he has generously donated his time to make sure they have facilities that are as professional as possible. He has also spent numerous hours at their facilities assisting them in trying to keep up their fields to the highest possible safety standards.
Although Eric will be the first to admit that written tests make him nervous he studied diligently to be able to pass the Certified Pool & Spa Operators Course so that he could professionally maintain our public pool to the highest standards. This pool receives a tremendous amount of usage and through his efforts we have been able to not only open on time each year, but to also be able to keep it open with very little, if any, down time at all! Please understand that this pool is not a modern marvel, but rather a relic as pools go built some 25+ years ago.
Eric is constantly recognized by citizens in the community for his hard work. Letters have been sent to me and to our Commissioner recognizing him and the efforts he makes to keep our park system clean and safe for the public. He ALWAYS goes above and beyond the call of duty and takes the time to do the "little things" that he could easily overlook and no one would say anything. The problem with that is that he would know and it is not in his nature to not do his very best.
Eric has used his expertise in the world of maintenance to be creative and work with a limited budget in an overused park and still have citizens rave about how beautiful and well kept Roper Park is. Although I know our needs are great and we are in the process of bringing a SPLOST vote to the public for improvements and new facilities, Eric uses smoke and mirrors to disguise that and gives the impression that all is well in Pickens County.
One thing about Eric is that he will do whatever he can to achieve any directive I give him in a first class way even on a limited budget. He is very innovative in his ideas and constantly thinks outside the box. I can not begin to think of the taxpayer money he has saved with some of his ideas and concoctions. Not a week goes by that he isn't trying to convince me that he can tackle some type of project to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Pickens County. I always have to use that nasty term all of us hate (BUDGET) to explain why we can't implement some of his brilliant ideas and for him to write it down and submit it at budget time. He is becoming quite proficient at doing that now! Believe me, the man can DREAM!
In my 26 years of service to the Parks & Recreation profession I have never been blessed with a harder worker! I truly mean that! He is a go-getter and needs absolutely no supervision whatsoever. I can't begin to count the times that he has worked straight through lunch just to get the job done and I have never known him be someone that when 5:00pm comes just drops what he is doing and punches out. If it is something he is in the middle of that needs to be done, trust me, he stays until it is completed.
A few other things that I think make him a deserving candidate for this award is simply his work ethic and desire to lead by example. Eric gets up and drives 110 miles round trip to his work place from Mineral Bluff, GA and unless weather has slowed him down has never been late. He has also accumulated a tremendous amount of sick time because he never wants to be considered a "slacker". He will come to work when ill and not give it a second thought. I have told him to go home on several occasions when it was obvious he didn't feel well and several hours later he is still plugging away.
Eric tries to stay out of the limelight when the opportunity arises. He will be embarrassed if selected for this award. He is not someone who I can say "talks the talk" but he is certainly someone who I can say "walks the walk"! He amazes me constantly as I am sure you can tell by this nomination.
I have said on several occasions that should I ever lose him it would take 2 or 3 men to replace him and I honestly mean that. I have threatened other Recreation Directors that bad things would happen to them should they try and hire Eric away from me. They think I'm joking but trust me, I'm SERIOUS! I know what a jewel he is to our Department and I would be prepared to fight should someone try and coerce him away. He is that valuable to this Department!
In closing, I know that there are a lot of other deserving Facility & Grounds professionals at other District 5 Departments, but I can say without doubt that should Eric receive this award then the right decision was made. He is a good person who is loyal to his family and cares about his friends. He is simply a unique and special person who I am glad I have gotten to know and honored to have the pleasure of working with. It is without hesitation that I make this nomination as the 2007 Georgia Recreation and Park Association Outstanding Facilities & Grounds Maintenance Staff Member for District 5!