2022 LOWA Board of Director Candidate Bios and Interviews

6/29/2022

LOWA Board of Directors Candiate Bios and Interviews
2022 Board Election 
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Leif Henecke
Candidate Name: Leif Henecke
LOW Residence: 349 Yorktown Blvd.
Family:
My wife and I have a blended family with five adult children and three grandchildren. They live as close as northern Virginia, and as far away as London. My parents have passed away, but I still have my family farm where I was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. My wife is a native of Arlington and her family lives here in Virginia.






Education and Training:
I hold a bachelor’s degree in History from Norwich University in Vermont, the nation’s oldest private military college. I also hold a master’s degree in Business Administration from Averett University in Danville, Virginia. Upon graduation from Norwich, I was commissioned into the United States Army as a Field Artillery officer. I am a graduate of the US Army Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced courses, US Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the US Army Command and General Staff College.
Relevant Experience Summary:
I bring over 25 years of combined, non-profit, association, and commercial business leadership and management experience to the table. I am an accomplished and seasoned business leader, skilled in building and motivating top-performing teams to achieve results and exceed goals. I have been a C-Level executive in numerous organizations engaged in directing day-to-day operations and developing long-range strategic plans for businesses from a few million in revenue to over $5 billion.
As a Chief Information Officer, I bring a unique blend of skills to a business as I must be knowledgeable and proficient in all segments of the business to plan, implement, operate, and secure the technology architectures that run the business. My areas of expertise are in financial systems, cyber security, and business continuity planning. I am a highly effective communicator, and I can clearly convey complex operational, financial, and technology issues and concepts to LOWA residents, board members, executive management, and staff.
I have the experience, time, and desire to contribute my leadership skills and business acumen to the continued success of our evolving community. Being fully retired and not engaged in any business undertakings within LOW, I can represent LOW residents fairly and without any conflict of interest.
Career History:
I am currently a retired US Army officer (24 years) and a retired Chief Information Officer. I began my career as a US Army officer and spent 12 years on active duty before transitioning for my remaining 12 years as an officer in the Virginia Army National Guard.
Serving as a Field Artillery Officer in the Army for 24 years, coupled with my MBA and additional military training, enabled me to enjoy a second fulfilling 20+ year career as a technology executive. As a citizen soldier serving Virginia, I began my civilian career working as a project manager in various defense firms in the metro DC area. I joined Ernst & Young, a Big-Five public accounting firm, and gained significant experience and expertise working in financial systems and technology implementations in large corporations. I then joined a national non-profit organization whose mission was to deliver workforce development services to disadvantaged senior citizens in rural America as their first Chief Technology Officer.
I continued to work in progressively larger commercial/defense sector organizations and then moved to be CIO at a member-based, international association supporting motor vehicle licensing and titling across all North America. I completed my civilian career as CIO for the federal sector of an Alaskan Native corporation. In addition to being the CIO, I was also responsible for all cyber security for the portfolio of companies within the corporation, spanning federal/defense, petroleum refining & services, construction, industrial services, and eco-tourism.
Community Service:
My wife and I enjoy the outdoors, so we volunteer with organizations to remove litter from waterways, parks, and campgrounds. My wife and I also volunteer in Orange County and assist with setting up and working during various community events. I am a Master Mason and support Masonic military outreach and medical research missions.
LOWA Committees:
I am currently the chair of the Lakes Committee (Sep 2021-Sep 2024). I also served on the recent Lakes and Storm Water Management Working Group in conjunction with the engineering firm of A. Morton Thomas, developing their recently approved report (Sep 2021-Dec 2021). I am also a member of the LOW Broadband Working Group.
Clubs and Organizations:
I am a member of the LOW VETS organization, as well as the LOW Sailing Club. I also belong to several regional organizations for camping, overlanding, and kayaking, all of which my wife and I enjoy doing together.
Why do you want to serve on the Board?
I want to join the LOWA Board of Directors to bring my leadership and business management skills and a great deal of common sense to help address the many complex operational and financial challenges that our community is currently facing and will inevitably face in the future. I am fully retired from two careers: as a decorated US Army officer and a highly successful CIO. I have deep experience as a C-level officer; my knowledge and experience in association and non-profit corporate models are especially relevant to participating on the LOWA Board of Directors.
What personal strengths do you think you bring to the Board of Directors?
We will need strong, experienced leadership from our board to meet the expectations of our members; chief among them are maintaining property values, operating high-caliber amenities, and providing a solid infrastructure while controlling costs in an inflationary cycle. I am a highly ethical and pragmatic leader and I believe strongly in being open and transparent. I have led multi-billion-dollar business operations and developed innovative fiscal and operational management solutions that exceeded business revenue goals and customer expectations. LOWA’s continued success will depend on having a robust and experienced leadership team to guide our community forward.
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing LOWA?
During the past several years, significant changes have occurred across the globe, and many of those have impacted day-to-day life in our community. I believe the increasingly volatile economic landscape is probably the most pressing problem that the association will deal with over the next several years.
Those pressures will most likely deepen in the short term but may ease over time. How the association develops its business and contingency plans along with its agility to adapt to changes in external factors will significantly impact the association’s success in meeting the needs of the members.
 
In addition to the impact of current and future economic factors on its business operations, the association must remain focused on maintaining the foundational aspects of the community. Maintaining affordability while prioritizing long-term investments in our infrastructure and amenities will be challenging. The association must continually monitor and assess the effectiveness and utility of the services and amenities it provides to the membership and, concurrently, balance those against their financial impact… positive or negative.

Protecting our most significant single amenity, our lakes, from the increasingly frequent stormwater runoff damages is imperative. The Board must commit long-term to provide the necessary resources to enact the recommendations of the recently adopted AMT report. This will require developing a strategy that engages our entire community to participate in improving the health and usability of our lakes.


If elected, what do you see as the most important short- and long-term goals for the LOWA community?
I am very optimistic about the future of our community. The Board and the LOWA staff have worked diligently over the past several years to ensure that the community has a solid operational and financial foundation upon which to build.
The Lake of the Woods community has short-term and long-term needs and challenges. In the short term (1-3 years), LOW will continue to feel the economic impact of recent worldwide events. We will need innovative fiscal management solutions and investments to deal with rising inflationary pressures, supply chain challenges, and workforce acquisition and retention issues. It will require strong, forward-thinking leadership at the board level to make the hard choices necessary to balance the evolving needs of our community against the continued financial health of the organization.
There are currently a number of high-profile capital projects which will be before the board; a main gate/third gate traffic management solution, initiating and prioritizing the project selection from the recent Storm Water & Lakes Management report (AMT report), assessing the feasibility and affordability of converting the remaining LOW chip & tar roads to asphalt, developing and implementing a fencing/surveillance plan to secure our community along the Route 3 frontage as well as the newly exposed northwest boundary between LOW and the Twin Lake housing development.

In the long term (3-20 years), our community will face challenges associated with our aging infrastructure. Several large multi-year projects need to be initiated, such as the recent Storm Water and Lakes Management project portfolio, the asphalt migration plan, physical security enhancements, and a High-Speed Internet provisioning plan. The successful resourcing implementation and execution of these and other long-term projects will have a significant, positive impact on the quality of life within our community. Developing the long-range financial and operational management plans to execute these and other yet to be identified core infrastructure projects while maintaining a positive annual budget will require the GM and administrative staff to jointly develop operating plans that will support the yearly goals determined by the board.

Additionally, to fully meet the needs of our members, we must also maintain and enhance a strong working partnership with our local municipality, Orange County, as well as VDOT, REC, RSA, and our elected representatives at the state and federal levels. While LOWA provides many of the core services that our community requires, we must continue to actively work with County leadership, State organizations, and our utility partners to ensure they are aware of and plan for the needs of our members in the areas of public safely, education, transportation, utilities, and land use planning. LOWA’s involvement in the County’s Land Use Planning process for the Route 3 corridor will be of critical importance to maintaining the quality of life in the community.
 

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William F. Kay, Jr.
Candidate Name: Bill Kay
LOW Residence: 104 Elm Ct. (since 2015)
Family: Wife Dawn, 5 sons and 4 grandchildren







Education and Training:
  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Polytechnic of Wales, 1981
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, Northeastern University, 1977
  • B.S., Lions University, 2021
Relevant Experience Summary: 
39-year career as a civil and environmental engineer and management consultant applying my technical knowledge, facilitation skills and process improvement principles and tool on a variety of projects and market segments. Responsibilities included:
  • Environmental and underground engineering investigations, design, and construction monitoring
  • Budget development and project cost estimating
  • Regulatory agency negotiations
  • Electronic data acquisition, management, and visualization
  • Strategic planning and organizational design
  • Service on numerous volunteer, professional and industry boards in various leadership positions
Career History:
Haley & Aldrich, Inc. 1981-2020
Positions held:
  • Officer, Board of Directors
  • Senior Vice President
  • Process Improvement Leader
  • Business Unit Leader
  • Office Manager
  • Engineer – Senior Engineer
Community Service:
LOW Lions Club: President 2021-present, 1st Vice President 2020-2021, Finance Committee Chair 2020-present, Budget Committee Chair 2020-present, Investment Committee 2020-2022 Chair 2021-present, Reserves Committee Chair 2021-2022, Safety Committee Chair 2020-present, Constitution & Bylaws Committee 2021–present, Nominations & Elections 2020-2021, Honors & Awards 2019-2021, Golf Tournament Committee 2021-present, Property Improvement Committee 2020-present, Yard Sale Volunteer 2018-present, Strategic Planning Committee Facilitator 2019,  Wilderness Food Pantry Volunteer 2021-present
LOWA Committees:
Attended many LOWA Committee meetings

Clubs and Organizations:
LOW Lions Club: President
American Society of Civil Engineers
Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers: Past President
Environmental Professionals Organization of Connecticut: Founding Member & Past President
Lean Construction Institute, LA & Orange County Community of Practice: Board Member
 
Why do you want to serve on the Board?
To apply my experience, skills, and knowledge to help maintain LOWA’s financial stability; protect, maintain, and improve the quality of our lakes and other physical and natural assets; maintain the character and value of the community; and to continue to serve my community as I have been doing through my involvement and leadership with the LOW Lions Club.
 
What personal strengths do you think you bring to the Board of Directors?
My engineering/scientific education and background will allow me to understand our infrastructure and environmental needs. My experience leading teams and working with diverse groups of people to help many organizations collaboratively find solutions to tough problems resulting in consensus, improved quality, and cost savings will allow me to do the same for LOW. I am a compassionate, analytical person who works effectively with large and small groups of people to solve complex problems.
 
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing LOWA?
As the remaining undeveloped lots are built out and LOWA’s revenue streams include fewer new building fees, it will be important to maintain financial stability while caring for our aging infrastructure, the quality of our lakes, and the other amenities we are privileged to enjoy. We will need to look for new and improved sources of revenue, ways to reduce costs and control the assessment fee while maintaining a best value community.
 
If elected, what do you see as the most important short- and long-term goals for the LOWA community?
Short-Term:
  • Address the main gate traffic congestion issue.
  • Continue to work with LOWA management, committees, and LOW members to identify where best to spend our limited resources while considering the guidance of our consultants as outlined in the A. Morton Thomas & Associates Lakes and Storm Water Management Plan Study and the Miller-Dodson Associates Replacement Reserves Report.
  • Address drainage issues within the community causing significant property damage and adversely impacting the water quality of our lakes.
  • Maintain a fair and equitable legal basis for enforcement of our rules and regulations.
 
Long-Term:
  • Improving the water quality of the lakes by continuing to implement sound stormwater management practices.
  • Maintaining financial stability and planning that considers the impacts of inflation, changes to our revenue stream, and supply-chains and labor shortage issues.
  • Actively interact with Orange County to minimize adverse impacts due to the development of the surrounding area including along the Rte. 3 corridor.
  • Maintaining our infrastructure and amenities for us to enjoy now and for future generations to come.

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Vassa Olson
 Candidate Name: Vassa Olson
Residence: 407 Birdie Rd.
Family: Married. Son 31, Daughter 32, 4 Grandchildren
Education and Training:
I graduated from a Real Estate School in 1991 from Germanna College in Locust Grove. I am continuing with education, including Public Relations, Business Ethics, Communications, and Negotiations. Before that, I was a flight attendant and an athlete. My several achievements and awards include the RE/MAX Hall of Fame 2011.
 

Relevant Experience Summary:
My total commitment and dedication to public service since the age of 23 speak loudly. Some of my skills include professionalism, excellence in communication, technology, problem–solving, organization, and my ability to keep a cool head during complex negotiations and conflict resolutions, as well as my solid understanding of zoning, building construction, rules, budgeting, and numbers. I have served on the Clubhouse and Pool Committees. I organize and run the LOW Walkers Meetup Group. I love our LOW Garden Club! I’m an active member assisting with meeting setup and the Memorial and Clubhouse Gardens upkeep. I also help with Christmas Clubhouse decorating and the Christmas Home Judging Committee.
 
Career History:
30+ Years of Real Estate Sales and Consulting. Residential Construction Management and Day to Day Operations. Currently still practicing Real Estate.
 
Why do you want to be on the Board?
As a 30-year resident of LOW and a new LOWA Board Member, I pledge to work hard, apply years of experience, and add a balanced approach to our ongoing assessments, amenities, and budget concerns. We are facing many challenges with growing inflation, aging infrastructure, and several other challenges, and I am fully prepared to meet the upcoming challenges. Therefore, I am the perfect candidate for the job!
 
What personal strengths do you think you bring to the Board of Directors?
I am friendly and easy to get along with. I am strong and confident; I’m responsible and reliable, I am hardworking with solid ethics I am knowledgeable in many areas of business operations (see more at the top of the page)
 
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing LOWA? If elected, what do you see as the most important short- and long-term goals for the LOWA community?
Our community is almost 60 years old. Lake of the Woods started as a weekend getaway place for the hardworking DC, No VA, and MD residents. At that time, taking a short --with little traffic -- drive on I-95, people could enjoy a weekend of golf, a clubhouse, a pool, and the lake. Around 1978, there were only 200-full time residents. Today, in 2022, we have 4,000 homes and almost 300 lots on which homes likely will be built. Most of our residents are now living here full time. They enjoy spending time with family and friends. I could count kids living at the lake on my two hands in 1991. Today, we have more families than ever before. We are proud of our amenities: Our beaches, our stables, the pools, our restaurants, and many other activities. As our community continues to grow, I see many challenges ahead. We must find a way to balance the rising HOA dues against the necessity of having to deal with the increasing traffic, the safety and security of our residents, the wear and tear of the almost 70 miles of our roads, the health of our beloved lakes, the drainage issues of many of our lots, the changing demographics, the currently rising inflation VS our members’ ability to pay the rising HOA dues.
 

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 Clifton D. Wilks 
 LOW Residence:  1531 Lakeview Parkway
Family: Mary Kay Wilks (wife), permanent LOW residents since 2003, Kathryn Wilks, Daughter
Education and Training: Frank W. Ballou High School, Washington DC.; Training through U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), U.S. Postal Service (USPS), including advanced advocacy training in multiple forums. Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College.
Occupation/ Career History:
Retired USPTO, 2009
2006-2009: Supervisory Human Resources Specialist, Employee Relations, USPTO
2005-2006: Human Resources Specialist, Labor Relations, USPTO
2003-2005; Area Labor Relations Specialist, Mid-Atlantic Area, USPS
1986-2003: Labor Relations Asst., Labor Relations Specialist, and Manager, Labor Relations, USPS
1977-1986: Supervisor, USPS
1973-1977: Clerk, USPS
 
Experience Summary
22 years of Human Resources with the USPTO and the USPS
36 years of Federal service.
USPS Agency Hearing Representative: in the following forums:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and
Grievance/Arbitration Procedures
 
LOWA Board & Committees:
Elected Director, 09/2021 to 09//2022
Appointed Director, 10/2020-09/2021
President of the Association, 2018-2020
Vice-President of the Association, January-September 2018
Elected Director 09/2017-01/2018
Board Liaison to the following committees:  Rules, M&E, ECC, LCC, Equestrian, Safety & Security, Honors & Awards, Planning.
Member of the Investment Committee 2018-2020
Rules Committee, Secretary and Chairperson; 2012-2016. Outstanding Service Award, 2015.
Chairperson Ad Hoc Pool Fitness Center Outdoor Recreation Complex Committee, 2016; LOWA Outstanding Committee Chair award, 2016.
 
Clubs and Organizations:
Member and past president, NARFE Chapter 1885.
Member, National AARP
Cause for Paws
 
What personal strengths do you think you bring to the Board of Directors?
I organize work to achieve goals. My strength is to be able to work with and arrive at decisions on crucial issues pertaining to the goals and processes of the Association and its Members. As a Director, I attend Board meetings prepared to vote on the issues presented. As the Association President, I followed Robert’s Rules of Order to set the proposed agendas through the offices of the General Manager, conduct the meetings and the business of the Association. It takes four votes to get anything done on the Board. Directors were able to advance their specific causes or not through the voting process. We were able to reach consensus on many issues and advance the welfare of the Association and its Members. In addition, when on the Rules Committee and the Ad Hoc Pool Fitness Center Committee, I prepared proposed agendas and assured advertisement for the members. When conducting the meetings, the agenda was the blueprint for getting work done. I am an honest person with a strong sense of fair play. My work experience involved collaborating with people striving to achieve win-win solutions when possible.
 
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing LOWA?
The most pressing issue is guiding our amenities to recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Businesses and amenities are opening for full usage by Members. The Board must look for ways to increase revenue and reduce expenses where possible. The most pressing problems facing the Association are lake health and stormwater management. We accepted the Lakes/Stormwater Study from A. Morton Thomas & Associates for planning purposes. The Board needs to integrate these projects  into our various plans after receiving recommendations from committees and members. These projects and others, such as asphalt paving the entire road system in the Lake and easing front gate traffic stacking among others, are expensive and funding needs to accomplish the projects with minimum impact on the assessment.
 
If elected, what do you see as the most important short- and long-term goals for the LOWA community?
In the short term, we need to finish the process revising Section IV of the Rules and Regulations for correcting covenant and rules violators, finish planning for completion of the Patrick Henry Court to Small Marina project, integrate the recommendations of the new AMT Study on lake health and stormwater management. We also need to implement contemporary designs for managing inbound traffic flow at the front gate.
In the long term we need to start preparing for building and development across Route 3, including fencing along our Route 3 boundary (for which we have a study completed) and fencing between the developing Twin Lake community which borders our property along the power lines. Integrating the proposed projects in the newly accepted AMT study into our 5-Year Plan and beyond. As always, the Association needs to strike a balance between maintaining and/or enhancing amenities and the financial stresses of ever-increasing assessments.

 
 

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