Cover Story

Gene Andreas accepting a plaque and laptop computer as part of his retirement gift from SRPMIC.

Open-House Celebration Honors Two Retirees from Public Works

By Candace Romero
Au-Authm Action News

On January 4 at the Salt River Community Building, a luncheon and recognition ceremony were held to honor Gene Andreas and David Mowry upon their retirement from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Mowry served as assistant public works director of facility management for SRPMIC for 12 years. Andreas also retired as the assistant public works director of operations after serving the Community for 25 years. Together, these men have a combined 37 years of service and dedication.

More than 100 staff, personnel and guests gathered to hear opening remarks from Public Works Director Kirk Beaty, friendly teasing from Assistant Community Manager Kent Andrews, SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier, and a sincere word of gratitude from SRPMIC President Diane Enos, who spoke on behalf of the Community and Council.

Andrews spoke about how both men had a commitment to the teamwork approach that made them instrumental in changing the chemistry of the whole organization and the Community government that allowed Public Works to achieve its goals.

“Dave Mowry, [with] his 12 years of service to the Community, has put a lot of personal drive into Public Works…he helped fill the gaps by raising the technical expertise and knowledge within the department, and I thank him for embracing the interdepartmental approach to help move the Community forward,” Andrews said.

For Mowry, being able to provide the best service to the Community is something that motivated him daily in his role as assistant public works director. Mowry offered this when asked about his contribution to the Community:
“When I first came to work here, the gaming revenue was just beginning to impact the tribal government,” he said. “Using the increased budget, we were able to install new building and [maintenance] systems, which were badly needed. The gaming revenue also sparked an unprecedented new construction program. I had the opportunity to be involved in the design of all the major tribal buildings and was able to influence the design such that the buildings were relatively easy to maintain and the building systems had a low life-cycle cost, which conserved energy.”

Andrews then spoke of Andreas’s personal involvement as a Council member and his 25-year career within the Public Works Department before leaving a friendly word of advice.

“Gene was a participant, not a spectator, of the Community. Whether it was a review board, a board of committees, a project team, an appeal board or a strategy team, Gene was always there,” Andrews said. “You can’t quantify what he has done for this Community, you just sit back and realize Gene has always been there to help answer the call. I appreciate what you have done for this Community. I wish you all the best, and please stay away from Community-member comments.”

Andreas admits that one of his biggest challenges was being able to answer those calls for help when the Community needed him. Of his 25-year career with SRPMIC, Andreas has had to fill in as acting director for public orks on three separate occasions. Still, work offered a lot of satisfaction, and he was always up to making improvements within his department, like the certification program that he implemented in his first year as assistant director.

“When I came in, no employee was certified in anything, and I felt that if we got certified, especially in water quality, that it would raise the whole level of expectations from our men and it would put them on equal footing with any other professional from outside the Community,” he said. “It also raised our credibility as a tribal community and increased morale within our department.”

The ribbing continued, with Harvier poking fun at Mowry before acknowledging the accomplishments of both men. “I was working at [Engineering and Construction Services] when I first met Dave, and I [didn’t] know if Dave had a vehicle, and I was thinking maybe he can’t drive—not that he can’t drive, but maybe he ‘can’t’ drive,” Harvier said while making air quotes with his fingers. He then thanked each of them for their service and dedication to the Community.

Enos extended her own words of appreciation to Mowry and Andreas. “I don’t have any wisecracks for you, but on behalf of Council and the Community, we wanted to thank you two gentlemen for your years of service to the Community. I know Dave has some plans set up already,” she said. “It’s true about Gene’s service on Council, but unlike Kent, I encourage Gene to come to Community-member comments,” she said. “I also encourage Gene to run for office again. He has years of experience and leadership and knows how to do the job. I’d like to say from my heart and the heart of Council, thank you for your years of work, both of you.”

Beaty shared some fun facts before showing a video presentation to the attendees. Each man was called to the podium to be recognized with a plaque and gifts on behalf of SRPMIC. Mowry received a Pendleton blanket for his 12 years of service, and Andreas received a new laptop and speakers. Cake and ice cream were served following the presentations.

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