A busy first work week for 2020. A couple items of interest and then a little bit about some exemplary leadership occurring from the Winters Community.
A couple items of interest:
- The Hotel Winters has their ribbon cutting on Saturday at 3:00. It’s going to be GREAT!
- On Tuesday, a groundbreaking was held for the 73 Room Marriot Fairfield Inn which will be constructed on Matsumoto Lane just off Grant Ave. This is a really important project and will provide needed lodging for the PG&E Gas Academy and travelers. Look for a construction timeline of about 10 months.
- The contractor for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments picked up the approved plans and we expect a groundbreaking and construction to commence soon.
- 2020 brings many new laws into effect which bring new requirements for our organization. Police have significant changes regarding use of force, documentation regarding contacts with the public and many new “annual reports”. Lots of administrative burdens which just seem to be piling up.
For this update, I thought it would be nice to share a perspective on community leadership and people who have and are impacting Winters and our influence. As I sifted through my mail this week, signed various documents and attended both regional and State-wide meetings, it is apparent that Winters is influencing in ways beyond our “weight class”. Without question, we have folks demonstrating leadership which comes from within many of the values and efforts which make our community strong, vibrant and moving forward. The only way to describe it is we are defining what people call leadership:
- Leadership is opening Comstock’s Magazine and seeing an article titled “A Cut Above” about John and Melanie Pickerel and the success of the Buckhorn Restaurant. The Buckhorn represents a level of excellence which is ingrained in how they do business every single day. They represent a level of quality which permeates their operations which sets them apart from their competition. Ironically, the magazine came out the day of the passing of Bob Taylor who served as a member of the Buckhorn Team and was a critical mentor to people like John Pickerel, Joe the Butcher, Leon Bajakian and the next generation types like Silverio Artega who now runs the Buckhorn food trucks. Joe told me that is was Bob who showed him the “steakhouse skills” which help makes him one of our nations’ top in house butchers. Silverio told me how Bob taught him how to “do things the right way” and how “not to cut corners or quality”. The quality and excellence which is the Buckhorn, Joe’s skills and Silverio’s commitment to always do things the right way is a testament to a legacy which Bob leaves us all. When people think of Winters they always bring up the Buckhorn and the reputation for simply being the best.
- Leadership is opening Western City Magazine (the main publication for city governments) and seeing a picture of our former Mayor and now Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar Curry being recognized by the League of California Cities as the “Legislator of the Year” for her support of issues and as a champion for communities throughout our State. Who is Cecilia, she was a single mom who raised two beautiful and successful daughters working multiple jobs and juggling work and family. She was a soccer coach and active community member. On the planning commission she became an unyielding voice for universal design in construction for Winters projects. On our City Council, she got Winters “to the table” within the region and brought representation to western Yolo County. She spearheaded the Hispanic Advisory Committee, the Festival de La Communidad/Carnitas Festival. Cecilia brings inclusion and pulls people into the process and empowers them to step up and make things happen. If you are around her, she gives you a job, holds you accountable and celebrates your victory and success. Its actually pretty cool seeing a local person being recognized as the top champion for cities who you know works incredibly hard to get things done. Few care more or work harder.
- Leadership is seeing a picture of Councilmember Jesse Loren in the same Western City Magazine being recognized for being a member of the Torch Leadership Program for the League of Cities. Jesse has brought leadership as a member of the Leagues Executive Board representing all “rural cities” in the State. She chairs the Rural Caucus, is a member of both the Women’s and Latino Caucuses and sits on key policy committees for community development and environmental quality. Winters influence on policy and legislation for key issues and support for rural and small communities is extremely high because of these efforts.
- Leadership is Robert Duvall, the Winters Police Department Chaplain who along with K-9 “Kepi” were recently recognized by the Kaiser Foundation as “First Responders of the Year” for the Napa/Solano/Yolo Region. Robert is a “hero amongst the hero’s”, providing support to victims, families and his fellow public safety personnel in some of the toughest situations of peoples lives. In 2019, he provided over 2,000 hours of volunteer services, serving over 80 death notifications and responding to the regions biggest incidents. Robert supports our residents and public safety personnel by helping them deal with the sometimes unimaginable of tragedies. For many, Robert is the rock in the worst moments of their lives, providing strength and support to deal with the grief but also to begin the healing. He is 100% volunteer and wears a shirt that says Winters on it.
- Leadership is Chris Kelsch, Leticia Quirarte, Irene Tweet (and the entire team) from Winters Healthcare who are taking our healthcare to a new level. The new campus, their programming and their services will lead our community to a new horizon from a livability and quality of life stand point. To walk into their new facility will give you euphoria with how nice it is. Winters is going to be healthier because of the work and leadership of these individuals who bring old fashion community values to making their home a better place.
- Leadership is what I like to refer to as the “millennial” entrepreneurs who are creating businesses and opportunity I have never seen in my 18 years in Winters. Businesses like Flatland Construction, Josh Colter Painting, Ample Electric, Aleco, Winters Concrete, Winters Plumbing and others are hiring locally with good paying jobs, training and growing themselves to lead Winters into the future. At City Hall and throughout the community, you see these hard working, home grown entrepreneurs building their base, doing the work and supporting local families with sustainable wages. They are growing their businesses and more importantly, hiring locally to compete against the “big companies” from outside our town. To say we are proud of these businesses is an understatement. They are role models who are bringing a vitality not seen in Winters for decades!
- Leadership is the quality which permeates the “Winters Brand” through the products which people know us for. Turkovich Wines (Chris and Luciana), Buckhorn Trucks (Silverio and Moy), Berryessa Gap Wines (Nicole and Rosendo), Steady Eddies Coffee (Karla and Mel), Pure Honey (Doniece) and Berryessa Brewing (Chris and Lori) exude that same excellence which is how Winters is viewed. These are all perfectionists who are at the top of their respective classes who settle for nothing but the best product as a reflection of themselves but also the Winters Community. Some people settle for good. Not these folks! Every drop, sip and bite are important to them as a reflection of who they are, what they stand for and a local culture which says we are going to simply be the best. They are our reputation and they know it. You always want people who have high expectations and pride driving your reputation and nobody can doubt we have that we these folks.
Finally, Leadership are those who have taken the chances to build, resurrect and advance the Winters community to where it is today. Downtown Winters is important and represents a celebrated renaissance. In reality, Downtown essentially died in the 1970’s and 80’s when the train left and area cities blossomed. It became mostly abandoned with boarded buildings and empty storefronts. Leadership are people like Charley Wallace, John and Melanie Pickerel, Joe and Karen Ogando, Elliot Landes, Mike and Janet Kimes and John and Liz Siracusa. These are the people who did not let it die and have led the resurrection. These are people who literally have given their all, mortgaged properties and kept Winters viable during the toughest of times so that we can enjoy the best of times. These folks are “all in” for this community both emotionally and financially. In my career and life, I have never met people like them and feel privileged to know them.
I have included a photo which is probably one of my most cherished Winters memories. It was taken in 2008 at 2:00 a.m. in front of the Buckhorn during the Downtown construction Phase I project. Restaurants all over the region were closing, the economy was crashing and we decided we would dig a hole and cut off the access to the front door of the Buckhorn. John Pickerel stood eerily in shock and my only consoling words I could think of were “I hope this works?” In many ways, I think we can argue that it has.
Leadership is about many things which include motivation, discipline, taking risks, pride, making people successful and sometimes dealing with disruption (like a big hole). To quote Huell Howser, “Winters is amazing” and I think it accrues to our culture of excellence, commitment, giving and to moving forward in our quest to simply be the best.
Have a nice weekend.