Joe D’Amore, President, IronOaks Board of Directors
My name is Joe D’Amore, and on April 1 I was elected your HOA Board President. It was not an April Fool’s joke; it really happened. I thought I should introduce myself and tell you a little—very little—of my personal history and spend more time on my history here in IronOaks. Here goes:
My wife Phyllis and I were both born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved to Arizona in December 1994. I very luckily got a job relocation here when an Arizona-based company moved me from the East Coast. I retired in 2002 from that company as its deputy general counsel. We built our home in Unit 44 and moved here in April 2003. Within my first year here, I became a unit captain and served in that capacity for several years. I was ultimately succeeded by Becky Kolb, who is a great unit captain, and who also chairs our Master Planning Committee, which will play a critical role in formulating and implementing our Strategic Plan. More on that later. I also served and chaired several committees, most notably the Election Committee and the former Appeals Committee. Your board now handles all appeals. It’s a great statement about our community that we do not get many appeals.
When a board position was vacated prematurely, oh, about eight years or so ago, I was appointed and served for about 10 months. When that term expired, I ran in the next board election and was elected to a full three-year term. I served as board secretary at one time. During my tenure on the board—at least, I think I got the timing right, but who knows for sure—I also served as treasurer of the Oakwood Couples Group for two years. I can’t believe it, but I was always able to balance the checking account. Not so lucky with my personal checking account, but I keep at it. I was succeeded by someone way more knowledgeable than I, a great guy who unfortunately left us way too early, Mike Skibo. Still miss him, as I am sure those of you who knew him do as well. Upon leaving the board, I ultimately joined the Ironwood Men’s Golf Association (IMGA) Board, first as internet chair, then I served as vice president for one year, and finally as president of IMGA for the following two years. I didn’t break anything in those positions as well, so there is hope for our HOA.
Last year I applied for and was appointed to another prematurely open board position. My current term ends March 31, 2022. In my new role, my plan is to periodically keep you updated on what’s happening in our community, from my perspective, of course. Copies of all comment cards and the official responses to them, which are generally answered by the appropriate management person, are sent to all your board members. I really appreciate that, since it keeps all board members apprised of what’s really going on in our community. I have to tell you, even though you may be skeptical about what I am about to say, the vast majority of those cards fall into two general categories: first, observations from residents about something that needs to be addressed or fixed, and second, praise to staff members or kudos about a meal at one of our restaurants or how great an event was. Thanks to every one of you who takes the time to use the comment cards. Keep them coming!
I will stop writing soon, I promise. I just want to end with a little bit of info about the two-day Strategic Plan Survey review sessions we had recently. We learned a lot, some expected and one major thing unexpected. The latter happened when we tried to have a hybrid live-and-Zoom meeting. We learned the valuable lesson that we need to seriously upgrade our Wi-Fi capabilities. Your BlueStar management team is already on that job, and we will keep it high on our list of priorities. Why? Because many of us, me included, see such hybrid meetings as the way to go in the future. We get a lot of online attendance, so we don’t want to lose that when we go live.
Thanks to all of you who completed the survey—that was 50% of you. The historical average, we were told, is about 30%. Way to go, fellow residents! Your Master Planning Committee, your board members, and many of your committees will be digesting those survey results, which you can find on our website.