Landenberg man named township volunteer of the year
● By J. Chambless
Landenberg resident Stan Lukoff was named the 2016 New Garden Township Volunteer of the Year.
Richard L. Gaw
Stan Lukoff, who lives in Landenberg with his wife Estelle, the
decades he spent commuting to DuPont in Wilmington as an information
technology consultant were thankfully gone for good when he retired
five years ago. But the tools in his career toolbox were still sharp.
So when it came time for him to plan his post-career life, Lukoff
settled on New Garden, the township where he has lived for 23 years.
Lukoff had already begun to volunteer before he left DuPont. He worked with the New Garden Township Police Department on exploring ways to improve the department’s communication with the public, including suggestions on the current website and Facebook page for the newly formed Southern Chester County Regional Police Department.
He also just completed a two-year assignment on the Open Space Review Board, which led to his work to help preserve land all over the township. For the last three years, Lukoff has also been working with Township Manager Tony Scheivert and other township leaders on the New Garden Communications Committee.
Last week, at a township holiday celebration, Lukoff was named New Garden Township’s 2016’s Volunteer of the Year, joining local leaders who have also earned the title, such as Bernie McKay, Chris Robinson and Don Peters, who were the guiding forces behind the development of the township’s trail system.
“It has been interesting to see how local government functions,” Lukoff said. “When you look at
some of the things you can affect or have an impact on, often it’s in local government and
politics where you can really make a difference. There’s so much noise on the national level
now that has become so frustrating for so many people. For me, channeling some of that frustration to the local government level has been very rewarding.”
Lukoff’s IT skills played a strong role in the development of The Lyceum, the township’s online newsletter, which is sent to all New Garden subscribers who request to be on the mailing list.
“There is a connection through general technology and general communications, so adding the technology piece to enable the supervisors and the township to better communicate to the residents is what we were trying to do on the communications team,” Lukoff said. “The goal was to use this newsletter as a method of engaging more people and have another avenue to capture people’s precious time.
“Everyone is now tied to their electronic devices, so the easier you can make it for them to understand what’s going on at a local level – that may help them become engaged in the township activities and functions.”
His colleagues in the township have valued Lukoff’s ideas.
“From website, Facebook and Survey Monkey software platforms, Stan’s input was valuable and insightful from a resident’s perspective,” said Gerald Simpson, Police Chief for the new Southern Chester County Regional Police Department. “There’s no doubt his approachable style added to our success. Again, the chemistry of ideas in a collaborative environment – of which Stan played an important part -- aided the township progressing its desire to better engage with its residents.”
“Stan brings to any decision-making meeting a cornucopia of attributes: He tactfully keeps the discussion focused; precisely records what was discussed; steadily leads the path forward for subsequent discussions and provides keen foresight,” said Robinson, who chairs the Open Space Review Board. “In the public forum, his communication skills were very evident in his much-appreciated, artful and convincing presentations to preserve over 150 acres in New Garden. Equally appreciated is Stan’s extensive knowledge of information technologies and his foresight on how these tools enhance residents' dialogue with the township’s managerial staff. Stan’s cordial, soft spoken, willing to help and resourceful manner has enhanced the community spirit.”
Lukoff said that the next goal he wants to pursue with the township is the development of “performance dashboards,” which will allow residents to chart the progress of a particular township department through color-coded graphics – whether on the township’s new website or at public meetings.
“It would give township department heads the opportunity to present their goals at board meetings, through dashboards and graphs, in terms of their status and objectives throughout the year,” Lukoff said. “In finance, for instance, it would be nice to see some year-to-date spending, and display them visually. It proves that a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Lukoff will join the township’s Comprehensive Planning Committee in February, and will provide input into the township’s comprehensive plan that was last updated in 2005.
Of the many projects he plans to become involved in, the most important for Lukoff is stimulating growth in township volunteerism.
“We’re looking for additional people, just to get a more diverse representation of the community,” he said. “We would love to get more people to volunteer on whatever organization the township has that they may be interested in.”
To learn more, visit www.newgarden.org, or call the township office at 610-268-2915.