Before I saw the Town Manager job posted online, I had never traveled to or through Winchester, Connecticut the closest I had ever come to town prior was either Simsbury, where I had once interviewed for a job, or Bristol, where I frequented Lake Compounce as a kid. Overall, up until this past winter, I was extremely unfamiliar with the northwest corner and Winchester as a town. As I decided to apply for the position, I set out on an expedition to see what there was to see of the town and learn all that I could.
It was January 18, just several months back, and I remember each part of the adventure like it was yesterday. The day began with an early-morning stop to get a take-out breakfast at Winsted Diner, where I met Asa Flint. He very quickly recognized that I was not a Winsted native, and he inquired about the purpose of the visit. I replied that I had a job interview for a position with the town government coming up soon and that I was visiting to learn more about Winchester, its people, and everything that a town needs to have a sense of place. His eyes brightened, and he proceeded to list out the myriad of things that he and his close circle of friends and family love most about the town, including Main Street, the lake, the parks, and the area’s natural beauty. I left the diner with an expanded list of sights to see, but I had already seen a glimpse of the thing that has become most important to me.
Just two nights later, my phone rang, and I was presented with my first conversation with Bob Geiger. For those of you that know Bob, you can likely imagine how the conversation went – it was relatively fast-paced, he kept it feeling light-hearted despite the conversation touching on several very serious subjects, and he quickly had me feeling like I was talking to an old friend. Bob did this despite the great personal pain he was enduring – his brother had just passed away due to a COVID-19 infection. He had very kindly reached out to me before my interview because he was not going to be able to attend it himself, as he was headed back home to Ohio to be with his family in the wake of their tragedy. Bob was passionate and even inspiring in his evident care for Winchester and the Town Manager position on that phone call, and it made me feel all the more fortunate to be considered for the job in the first place.
While these are merely two portraits of the first in-depth interactions that I had with a Winchester resident and official, they very much were precursors to the first impressions I would make of each resident I met thereafter. While each town that I have worked in has its charms, intrigues, and share of quality people, from the first few minutes that I set foot in town I have been awestruck by the care that so many residents have for the town that they call home and the friendliness they have shown me in all manner of circumstances.
My first and lasting impression of Winchester is that it is a place of camaraderie and spirit. In my first month on the job, I have woken up every morning excited to get to work so that I can do my part to help that spirit grow and thrive, and I hope that you will all take a moment in your day to reflect on what a warm, beautiful, and welcoming town we live in. I’m proud to be one of Winchester’s newest residents, and I hope you’re proud to call Winchester home, too.