Landenberg Q & A
By Richard Gaw
On Dec. 15 of last year, Tony Scheivert was officially named as the new township manager for New Garden Township. He began work on Jan. 5 of this year, and now, four months later, Landenberg Today met with him to talk about his new job, his career in township management, and the busy life he leads as the father of three young girls.
Q: You came to to New Garden Township from your previous position as the assistant township manager for Caln Township. Talk about how the two positions are similar, and how they are different.
Scheivert: Caln Township and New Garden Township are about the same size in population. The key difference is that when I was the assistant manager for Caln Township, I would bring the needs of the citizens to the township manager. Now, I'm the main guy, which I've enjoyed, because there's a great staff here. I'm very impressed with how many people are so dedicated in volunteerism in New Garden.
Q: Your carer has largely been one involved in township management. What led you to pursue a degree in recreation management, and then a Master's in public administration, both of which dovetail when it comes to the management of townships. What led you to this?
Scheivert: When you're a kid outside playing with your friends, no one ever says, "I want to grow up and become township manager." I love the outdoors. I thought I would become a park ranger and work at a national park. I was offered a job with the Borough of West Chester Recreation Department, then worked in Bucks County, and then onto Caln Township for nine years. I found that I liked serving people, and decided I wanted to pursue my Master's degree in public administration. I really wanted to become a township manager. New Garden Township just felt like a good fit for me.
Q: What is it about New Garden Township that makes it a good fit for you?
Scheivert: I like the mix between open space and commercial development. I see that there is a lot of emphasis on trails and nature, but I also see a good chance for smart growth, as well.
Q: Where did you grow up, and how did your community provide a positive impact on you?
Scheivert: I grew up in Aston in Delaware County, and was very active in sports. I felt a good sense of community there. My dad was a coach. My mom was always working the snack bar. My sister was a cheerleader. Sports were a key part of my growing up. I went from one sport to another – football, basketball, and baseball – non-stop. One of my first interactions with my township was when it ran sewers through our neighborhood and we had to tap in. At that time, we had a septic tank in the front of our house, so my dad was thrilled to be able to tie into the municipality's system.
Q: Volunteers are such an important part of the New Garden Township community. How do residents become a part of that volunteer corps?
Scheivert: Getting involved is as simple as coming down to the township building on Starr Road and filling out a volunteer application. We have several vacancies on a few of our boards. Just come and in tell us you're willing to do something. If you have a particular interest, we may be able to help fit you with a position within the framework of your interest. There are several opportunities for everyone.
Q: You're now a part of the New Garden family, but let's talk about your family at home: your wife, Erin, and your daughters Alison, Emma and Katie. It's got to be a busy place these days. Take me into the Scheivert home on a typical weekday.
Scheivert: My wife gets the family up at about a quarter to six in the morning. We get the lunches all made and packed, and then get help get our little one Katie ready for daycare, and Alison and Emma dressed for Caln Elementary School. It's nice that they wear uniforms, so it eliminates the option of choosing clothes. Alison and Emma are in the Girl Scouts, so there's a likely chance they will be a meeting at night. We always try to eat dinner together, and one of the things my wife started a while ago is something called "High and Low," so that when we're eating, everyone has to share one high moment of the day and one low moment of the day. On the weekends, we're very active in our church. I cook breakfast at the church on Saturdays, and my wife teaches Sunday school.
Q: Do you have a favorite spot in Landenberg?
Scheivert: I'm intrigued by all of the mushroom houses in the township, and the many agricultural roots that have long been established here. Over 50 percent of the mushrooms grown in the United States are grown in Chester County, and of that figure, probably 30 percent are grown right here in the township. Our mushroom industry runs an incredible business.
Q: Who would you enjoy having over for a dinner party, living or not?
Scheivert: I never met my dad's father, so I'd like to have him here. I'd also like to have my wife's grandfather around the table. I never met him, but I've heard so many great things about him.
Q: What food is always in the Scheivert family refrigerator?
Scheivert: We have three girls who all love Gogurt, so it's always in our refrigerator, and so are apples.
-- Richard L. Gaw