Well-qualified BCONE webmaster, and more, eager to take the baton from Boyle this spring…and run with it.
By Steve Dwyer
The only constant in life is change, which happens to be afoot at BCONE with the installation of Anne Lazo as executive director-elect and Michele Hurley as assistant to the director.
Lazo has accumulated years of experience with BCONE, as she’s been a part of the working team since almost the organization's inception. During this time, BCONE has benefitted from her years of results-driven experience as the Chief Executive Officer at Eagle Soars Consulting and Motorhead Advantage.
It's within these CEO positions that Anne directly manages the building of brand awareness for clients, with a focus on creating greater loyalty with employees, vendors and customers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Her more than 36 years of professional experience will permeate the BCONE organization as Lazo prepares to succeed outgoing Executive Director Susan Boyle, who announced her retirement in 2022 and is effective this spring.
One word for the transition is “bittersweet” to Anne and the entire organization. To Lazo, Sue has been a friend and a mentor, and her imprint on BCONE operations will be lasting. On the flip side, Anne knows the show must go on and is excited about this golden opportunity. And why not: it was Sue who tapped her to take over the post.
“Sue approached me earlier in 2022 and asked about my interest in the ED post,” recalls Lazo, who was officially appointed during the Fall 2022 BCONE Board of Directors meeting. “At first, I thought she was kidding.”
It's no joke, and one key reason is this: “I’ve worked with BCONE since almost the start, know the organization, I’ve read every word ever e-blasted or put on social media about BCONE, and know the lay of the land. I have such a passion for the organization,” says Lazo, who, among other roles, has been BCONE’s webmaster. She also is closely affiliated with the New Jersey Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association and the New York City Brownfield Partnership.
“What’s exciting is that BCONE gets stronger each year -- and I can’t wait to form an even closer relationship with our new leadership team: President Melina Ambrosino and VPs Almariet Roberts and Nancy Struzenski.”
Turning A Page
Anne Lazo will be ably assisted by Michele Hurley, a 1992 Boston College alum with a degree in business management and marketing. Regarded as “a very detail-oriented and organized person, Michele has worked in the marketing department for an environmental company and as an administrative assistant for a stock brokerage firm. After a few years, she told me that she opted to pursue a career in education as she had always dreamed of becoming a teacher.
“I’ve also been told that my patience and ability to multitask -- think 15 preschoolers at once -- will serve me well. I am excited to be part of this innovative team,” she notes.
Meanwhile, Anne looks forward to working with Melina, Almariet and Nancy, adding that “my goals are aligned with the leadership team. I was able to see their leadership and organization styles when Tiesha Green and I worked with them on the 2022 NSCW. One way I can complement the strengths of the leadership team is with my skills that have been cultivated on the business end of the equation.”
Melina, on the other hand, had established an affinity for financial services, tax credit strategies and serving in consulting mode for developers. Anne says she’s eager to use her business acumen to build membership and recruit a new breed of professionals to join BCONE, starting with engagement at live or virtual events.
“One goal is to break out our messaging. Find out why our members joined BCONE and use it to make BCONE appealing to others. Everyone joins for different reasons. We want to engage our members and get them to articulate their ‘why.’” We aim to attract more professionals across different industry groups like attorneys, architects, lenders, insurance companies and more. We’re eager to hone our messaging to accomplish that goal. It would also be ideal to have more of our members write stories for our digital platform.”
Hurley landed at BCONE in early 2023, as “a friend of a friend of a sister-in-law mentioned that she had heard of an opening at BCONE and that it was a very flexible position -- she thought of me.”
Michele contacted Melina, and “we had a fantastic initial conversation. She set up an interview with the board. I did some homework of my own and learned about brownfield redevelopment. Some of the names, both individual and company, sounded familiar; in fact, one of the companies was a client of my late husband. (Tragically, Michele lost her husband in March of 2020 “very suddenly and unexpectedly.”)
“BCONE is something he would have supported and maybe even been a part of,” says Michele. “When offered the job as an executive administrative assistant, it was a very easy decision for me. I look forward to learning more about the industry he was passionate about and working with an incredibly talented and diverse team of professionals.”
BCONE is “not only supportive and encouraging but makes me feel like an integral part of the team. I am especially interested in the Education & Scholarship committee and hope to become more involved in that aspect,” she says.
Committees, Events Power Up
BCONE committees and events are poised to become even more comprehensive and formidable each year, and Anne plans to work with Almariet to continue cultivating that effort.
With oversight from the Executive Team, the Marketing Committee, for instance, is crafting BCONE-specific messaging as a recruitment mechanism, honing in on ways to enlist additional members and sponsors across all industries that participate in redevelopment projects. Almariet plans to work with all the committees to ensure they are supported,” Anne says.
Examples would be to recruit municipalities that have properties for redevelopment. In addition, attorneys, architects, developers (without brownfield-specific expertise), property owners, environmental insurance companies and lenders may not be aware that BCONE, and brownfield redevelopment, is a niche opportunity to ply their craft. Many banks, for instance, don’t grasp the mission of brownfield redevelopment and, as such, might take a pass on extending financing. If they become better educated about the industry, some might take a different approach.
One new opportunity for BCONE is partnering with Alvernia University in Reading, PA. Board member Joe Kraycik and the Pennsylvania Expansion Committee have been working on an educational and networking event called the “CBCL Conference.” Planned for April, the conference is sponsored by the College of Business Communication and Leadership (CBCL) and focuses on sustainability and other vital issues. Joe thought it would be a good partnership and brought members of BCONE in as part of the conference agenda, with Rick Shoyer (immediate Past President of BCONE) and Mary Ann Manley (BCONE member and speaker at prior NSCWs) speaking at sessions. BCONE will also sponsor a networking event for faculty and students at the end of the day.
Within the Marketing Committee, Jeff Campbell has launched an initiative to post content to the BCONE site on a more regular basis, and Lazo is eager to coax members to prepare articles for the digital platform to share their industry expertise.
Speaking about BCONE events, Lazo is eager to work with the Executive Team and Expansion Committees to balance live and virtual events, including Regulatory Roundtables and Hot Topic events. The goal of NSCW, the organization’s annual conference, is to establish a diversified geographic balance of cities/states that host the event, such as the 2022 conference in Stamford, Connecticut event, which went off increasingly well. NSCW is booked for Worcester, Massachusetts, in September of 2023, and will build on the success of previous events.
Looking back, Anne pointed out how former BCONE president Rick Shoyer established a blueprint for “getting more people involved in committees. Volunteers are important, and Rick was great at getting volunteers on board.”
Lazo sums up her new executive director post opportunity: “I’m excited for the year ahead and am grateful for the opportunity and the trust people have had in me over the years. I will miss Sue terribly and wish her the best in retirement, but also can’t wait to dig in with the leadership team and get started!”
Posted March 16, 2023