Public Works Crew Leader Joe Dowling has been named the 2016 City of Falls Church Employee of the Year. The citizen-led Employee Review Board selected Dowling for his work during Winter Storm Jonas, the creation of a mini-park on Rolling Road, and several department office moves.
Dowling has worked for the City for 36 years. He was nominated by his supervisor, Robert Goff, and three department directors.
Goff was impressed by Dowling’s performance during the record-breaking Winter Storm Jonas, which brought more than two feet of snow to The Little City over two days. “Mr. Dowling’s leadership, skill, level of knowledge and expertise in the removal and recovery effort was outstanding and greatly improved quality of life and safety for residents during this storm,” said Goff.
In preparation for snow, Dowling created a new inventory system for salt, ensuring that adequate stock was on hand at all times. He also took on the responsibility of clearing cul de sacs using the backhoe, which resulted in faster snow removal and saving staff time.
Dowling assisted in at least 20 calls to dig out plow trucks that were stuck in the snow, as well as numerous requests for emergency services, removing snow so emergency vehicles could reach residents. He also trained staff on efficient loading and hauling techniques, saving the City thousands of dollars by not needing contractors. As a result of Dowling’s work and expertise, City schools re-opened six days before the schools of neighboring jurisdictions.
Danny Schlitt, Director of Recreation and Parks, nominated Dowling for his tireless work on special events like the Memorial Day Parade and Festival. "Joe is a ‘can do’ man,” said Schlitt. "He is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He simply does what he is tasked to do with a professional and knowledgeable attitude."
Nancy Vincent, Director of Housing and Human Services, nominated Dowling for his leadership in moving the Court Services Unit from Gage House to City Hall. He worked after hours to move files, furniture, and personal effects in an efficient and organized manner, minimizing the amount of time staff was required to work in a temporary location. He then continued the work to move the Real Estate Assessment office to Gage House. “He was wonderful to work with and patient with my staff during a stressful move,” said Vincent. “His positive attitude and willingness to put in the many hours outside of the regular work week made the process flow smoothly. He is clearly devoted to his work, City staff, and the clients we serve.”
The fourth nomination came from James Snyder, Director of Development Services and Planning. “Joe’s work makes The Little City a more attractive and better place to live, work, and play,” said Snyder. Dowling quickly, efficiently, and expertly installed the brick sidewalks in front of City Hall in time for the grand opening of the Harris Teeter. He also created a mini park near Annandale Road. “It was a trash-ridden, neglected area that was quickly turned into a green, clean mini park complete with new sod, trash cans, a mulched pedestrian path, and comfortable benches,” Snyder praised.
The citizen-based Employee Review Board selects an Employee of the Year each year from nominations submitted by City employees and citizens. The recipient is selected for their involvement in an accomplishment of outstanding worth in advancing and improving public service in the City of Falls Church that produces outcomes, such as higher morale or acts beyond the call of duty, and goes above and beyond the nominee’s normal duties.
2016 Employee of the Year Joe Dowling with members of the Department of Public Works team.