Don Novotny is Wellington’s 2017 Employee of the Year, an honor also known as the Mark Rosemark Award.
The title was renamed last year, recognizing Rosemark’s work in 2016 as both water superintendent and village manager between the departure of Steve Pyles and hiring of Steve Dupee.
Novotny has worked with various village utilities since 1987 and is currently the supervisor of backflow and metering at the water department as well as metering at the electric department.
While thanking mayor Hans Schneider and council for the award, Novotny emphasized the importance of having local ties in his continued dedication to wearing many hats in the community.
”It’s very humbling when you get an award from your peers,” he said. “When you’re in public service for 30 years, you have to know you’re not going to always make everyone happy. My mother always told me to treat others the way I want to be treated. Just be honest and fair with people.”
Novotny has been in his current position for two years and also performs water lab analysis for the village. He referenced a few lessons learned from former village manager Bob Dupee over the past few decades.
“Bob told me if you invest in the people of your community, they’ll give so much back,” he said. “Through this council and past councils, I know what I do is always appreciated. In Bob’s honor, I will ask that we continue to try and get people from Wellington to fill our positions. People in Wellington understand how this community works and what it really means to have an investment in it.”
Village officials passed along kind sentiments and shared stories about Novotny’s dedication.
“This guys does a lot,” said Schneider. “When I say a lot, I mean a lot. He’s always going above and beyond, like going to a resident’s home at the drop of a hat to get to the bottom of a problem they’re having. We’re proud to present him with this award. It’s been a long time coming.”
Novotny first learned he was employee of the year Dec. 15 at the the village’s annual Christmas luncheon.
Dupee said he and others were having trouble locating him that day. “He was out working. We all just hoped he would show up and he finally did. That right there is just a testament to his dedication in this community. He’s a fantastic public servant and a huge asset.”
“Don had no idea that he was getting the award,” said Schneider. “We brought up his wife (WHS band director Toni) to present the award. I can’t repeat what Don said when he saw her walk up to the stage, but I can tell you he was surprised.”
Rosemark was far from surprised to see Novotny receive the honor.
“First of all, I can tell you everybody in our company realizes Don is the hardest working guy around,” he said. “He never stops and is extraordinarily dedicated. He really emphasized the importance of having community links, which isn’t meant in any way to say anything negative about someone who isn’t part of the Wellington community. Don just feels strongly that this being his home adds a lot to his motivation. There is no one more deserving for recognition of his work ethic than Don Novotny.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.