KAB Promotes Longtime Employee Tim Reid

Tim Reid

Tim Reid has been selected by the Keep Akron Beautiful Board of Directors to take the position of Litter Control & Community Service Coordinator after Bill Smith, former Litter Control & Community Service Coordinator of Keep Akron Beautiful, announced his retirement in December of 2015 after 32 years with the agency.

Tim Reid has been with the agency for eight years in the position of Litter & Graffiti Supervisor, supervising the court appointed community service workers that help the KAB crews keep the City of Akron litter-free 365 days of the year, as well as assist with the Community Pride Trailer program and respond to graffiti removal requests received by the agency for private and public properties. Reid is a proud graduate of Buchtel High School and has lived in Akron his whole life. Prior to his time with Keep Akron Beautiful, Reid was employed at a shipping company in Solon, Ohio.

Of his promotion Reid said, “I love working with people and love the people I work with. It’s the most positive group I’ve ever gotten to work with; Keep Akron Beautiful is like family.” Reid worked closely with Smith during his eight years at KAB and acted as Interim Litter Control & Community Service Coordinator until he was officially offered the position. As the Litter Collection & Graffiti Coordinator, Reid is responsible for monitoring the litter and illegal dumping status on public property within the City of Akron. This involves tracking the chronic problems areas and making the daily assignments for the KAB litter collection crews.

Reid also commented, “Bill Smith taught me a lot and I’ve learned a lot from the other supervisors. I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to take on this new role.”

The only time Tim likes putting frowns on people’s faces is when he blast their graffiti away. “It’s an ongoing game, but eventually, they get tired of wasting money on spray paint that gets removed the next day.” Tim is often referred to as the “Blaster Master” when it comes to graffiti removal services.

He recalled one job in particular where his crews were called to paint over a vandalized bridge on Barge Street. “I could hear a guy on the phone, bragging to his friend about his graffiti.” By the time the offender came back to the scene of the crime to take a picture of his work, the graffiti had been eradicated. “He had this look of confusion on his face.”

Over the years Tim has become a key member of the KAB team. We hope you join the staff at Keep Akron Beautiful in congratulating Tim on his well-deserved promotion!

Keep Akron Beautiful Attends National Conference


By Helen Dauka















On February 1, KAB CEO Jacqui Ricchiuti, CFO Elaine Murphy and Communications & Volunteer Project Manager Helen Dauka travelled to Orlando for the 3 day Keep America Beautiful National Conference.
Over the course of 3 days, KAB staff was able to hear what Keep America Beautiful has in store for its network of over 600 affiliates in 2016, attend informational sessions, listen to speakers, and network with other agencies. Keep Akron Beautiful has brought back quite the haul of ideas for improving its existing programs in Akron and some new ideas to implement in the future!

Elaine and Helen kicked off their conference by attending the New Executive Training.
This session gave an in-depth background to the history of Keep America Beautiful and transitioned into an explanation of the Keep America Beautiful Behavior Change System. The session included breakout group activity where the affiliates worked together to brainstorm ways to incorporate the Behavior Change System in different programs to help end litter in their communities.

For Elaine, getting to learn the historical background of Keep America Beautiful was extremely valuable. Learning about the Behavior Change System gave her context to what our agency does every day. While some of the people in the room may have started with there affiliates as recently as the day before the conference, for Elaine and Helen it was beneficial to see how the guidelines set by Keep America Beautiful align with what Keep Akron Beautiful already does. Helen described the session as a real, “connect the dots moment” for her.

Jacqui, Elaine and Helen attending a speaker session hosted by Rob Curnow, author of Litterology. As a behavioral psychologist Rob and his co-author Karen Spehr set out to find out why people litter. Some of the biggest takeaways from his presentation were that you can’t assume you know who litters. Another fun fact Curnow discovered: most people will chase a piece of runaway litter about 20 yards before they give up. Talk about some exercise!

Another great session attended by all was the Steel This! session where a handful of affiliates were able to present programs they have implemented that have been successful. KAB staff was able to hear about wildflower trail preservations, water cleanup initiatives, and recycling education for schools.
new breed
KAB staff also got to hear presentations on The Cost of Blight, The New Breed of Volunteers and The Art of the Report, all jam-packed with useful information that will be able to be implemented in Akron to make our agency better able to serve the community!

While the value of the information gained during conference sessions can’t be quantified, the same can be said of the connections that were made with other affiliates. Outside of sessions during meals, snack breaks or between sessions, amazing conversations were had with other affiliates from Ohio and neighboring states. Sharing of ideas and proposals of collaborations came about organically, expanding the impact of our community in Akron to create a stronger region!





Akron2Columbus – An Inspiring Trip for KAB CEO

Thanks to the generous support of the Knight Foundation, GAR Foundation and United Way of Summit County, our CEO Jacqui was able to spend a day and a half in Columbus (Ohio) with community leaders and activists from Akron. Here is her account from the day and a half that she spent touring and learning:

bike rackI was thrilled to be invited along with so many passionate and inspiring people who hold various leadership positions all throughout Akron to visit Columbus. Columbus was chosen because it was only 2 hours south of Akron and offered many learning opportunities in areas of importance to our community in this time of growth and change. Ohio’s largest city, Columbus experienced very little impact from the Great Recession in 2007. In recent years Columbus has continued to grow in population and seen a resurgence in many of it’s once struggling neighborhoods, including the downtown business district. Since 2008, Columbus has received many national accolades including: 15th most literate city in the country in 2008 by Central Connecticut State University; 2012, Columbus was ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek as America’s 20th Best City; one of Thumbtack’s “Top 10 Cities for Black-Owned Small Businesses in America 2015; 8th best city for Women Entrepreneurs by Forbes in 2012; and more.

During my time on the trip, I was fortunate to address the entire group to let everyone know what Keep Akron Beautiful’s programming entails and all about our litter prevention and beautification efforts, as well as programs such as the Community Pride Trailer and Litter and Illegal Dump Cleanup Trailer. Many of the people on the trip were not aware of all of the services that KAB has to offer- so it was a great time to share what we do and how we can help make their jobs a little easier, as well.

Some of the best times of the trip were while talking and collaborating with other leaders while sharing a meal or walking to a location! I enjoyed time with Tina Ughrin – a North Hill Community Leader who worked very hard on the Akron Better Block in North Hill. Tina and her husband John are also neighbors of mine in North Hill.

On Monday morning the group was able to hear from some of the Columbus City Council leaders who have made an impact on Columbus’ neighborhoods and making the community a better place to live, work and play. The panel discussion with q&a was quite interesting and taught me so much about working with community leaders and how to make things happen! I got a true sense that the Columbus City Council was all about collaboration and working together- something I am proud to say that Akron does so well. Next, Tina and I took off on a morning walk to our appointments in the Short North. We were able to meet with the Executive Director of the North Market. If you haven’t heard of the North Market- you can check out their website, here: North Market. It would be so wonderful to see an operation like this occupy some of Akron’s old warehouses or somewhere near downtown! What a great way to bring fresh foods to the community and also a great way to try some of the local Columbus businesses foods!north market

After our meeting at the North Market, we enjoyed lunch there and moved on to meet with the Downtown Columbus Development Corporation – Ashley who met and spoke to us showed us Columbus Commons, much like Lock 3 Park- and the Scioto Greenways project- check out their website here: Scioto Greenways. It was great to see and hear what they are doing, but it also gave me some good ideas of things to bring back to Akron. I loved some of the water features (smaller water features) that were outside of the parkland and Scioto River Habitat- as well as all of the bike parking nearby and some of the awesome places to sit and even swing! What a great idea- adding places to sit and swing to some of our more accessible City parks. Another one of my favorite ideas was the bike parking with flower beds and green spaces on top- check out this great photo that Suzie from Downtown Akron Partnership took-greenways

The trip was a huge success with all of these meetings and interactions- but a high point was definitely a tour of the Statehouse and visit from Senator Tom Sawyer and Representative Emilia Sykes. After that, we enjoyed a great meal all together, decompressing from our day! I couldn’t even speak at the wrap up point because my mind was buzzing with so many great ideas. I am excited to bring some quick wins home to Akron, but also excited to see all of the progress that takes place from the amazing group of people that were able to attend and all of the work that they do to make Akron a better place!

Thanks again to Kyle Kutuchief from the Knight Foundation, Dina Younis from the GAR Foundation and the incredible team from United Way, including Beth Boggins, Nichole Booker, Ann Manby, Seth Kujat and Adrienne Bradley – without you this wouldn’t have been possible and I learned so very much from this trip.Tour the Sciotio Greenway with group

Preparing for Arbor Day with Pam Ray

This year, Keep Akron Beautiful is heading out to the fourth grade classrooms with a new and improved Arbor Day presentation. Volunteer Patty Riggs spent the summer putting together new lesson plans so that each fourth grade science educator in Akron will receive their very own binder that aligns with their fourth grade curriculum. Educational Specialist, Pam Ray brings these lesson plans to life by visiting the classrooms and spending time talking about the importance of Arbor Day. Pam shared that, “A lot of teachers are excited about these lesson plans; they are more challenging and interesting than the past.” This spring marks the 27th year that Pam has been delivering these presentations, and Pam continues to update her lesson plans to suit the needs of her students. One change that her students are particularly excited about this year is that the seedling that each school receives will be a fruit tree, as opposed to other species that have been donated in the past. Students were also told about the upcoming Arbor Day Slogan Contest, in which they will be able to participate by submitting their own slogan to express how important Arbor Day is to the community.
According to Pam, the greatest thing about visiting classrooms is being around the children, and watching them learn. “Seeing their expressions and hearing all of their new questions always makes me smile,” stated Pam.
Communication interns Willa Neale and Jamie VanAman were along for the ride and get their own Arbor Day education, Keep Akron Beautiful style.
Pam Arbor dayWilla Neale
I was able to observe Pam Ray in action on February 17, 2016. When I entered the classroom at Forest Hill CLC, I was amazed to see how attentive each of the young students seemed to be. All of them appeared to be fascinated by the history of Arbor Day and the facts that Pam shared with them. They listened carefully as Pam taught them about the different types of trees that can be found near the public schools as well as some favorite city locations, such as Lock 2 and Lock 3, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens and EJ Thomas Hall. After the presentation, student’s hands shot up in the air to participate in her game of Arbor Day Jeopardy. It was exciting to see how engaged the fourth graders were, and I enjoyed being able to see their passion for the environment grow.pam arbor day stretching

Jamie VanAman
When I was able to observe the Arbor Day presentation on February 19, 2016 at McEbright CLC, I was excited to help teach the students about the holiday. Pam Ray did an amazing job engaging the fourth graders and helping them understand what Arbor Day is all about. I did not expect each child to be so attentive and eager to participate, and many of the children already knew quite a lot of information about trees, Arbor Day, and the environment. It made me so happy to see that these children genuinely cared about the community they lived in and watch their faces light up when they heard that they were each going to get to plant their own tree!

Pam Ray’s Arbor Day adventures have only just begun!