by Mike Conroy
After 37 years of creating history in Montgomery Village; educating residents about and enforcing architectural criteria; attending committee and board meetings; and contributing to building a harmonious look in the community, Director of Architectural Standards Diane Stasiewicz will say farewell to the workplace she has called her second home. Stasiewicz is set to retire at the end of the year.
With a cheerful smile, Diane recalls the day she first came to the MVF Office in search of a job in 1980. She says she was wearing an outfit just as cheerfully fitting—a white skirt with a yellow sweater—and answered an ad for a job as a maintenance receptionist.
As a single mother, she was looking for nothing more than a job close to home, working with good people. Diane admits that she had no idea what the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) was or what they did, but she was committed to supporting her family.
After sitting down with then Executive Vice President (EVP) Bette Weseman, she was hired on-the-spot for a different position in the MVF Financial Department, where she was introduced to MVF’s first computerized data system. And with that, Diane began her deep education in all things Montgomery Village.
After about 7 months, she was approached to replace Pat Huson as the Architectural Control Specialist, covering both architectural and covenant inspections. In 1984, when architectural control and covenant enforcement were split, Diane was tapped again to change positions, this time, taking the reins and building an entire department focused on Architectural Standards in Montgomery Village. Since then, she has cultivated the department, hired and trained staff and taken on working with residents to keep an aesthetic standard in the community, all the while learning and applying that knowledge to the job. Diane says, “I felt honored to take on that task; that they trusted me to do a good job. MVF has always been like a second home for me, and I felt compelled to repay that feeling of trust with my best and hardest work.”
Having built the department from the ground up, Diane has hired, trained and worked closely with many staff members, but has not taken for granted those from whom she learned along the way. Bill Hurley, also known as “Mr. Montgomery Village,” introduced Diane to the commercial aspects of the Village, and made connections with the Kettler Brothers and their employees. Former EVP Pat Huson mentored Diane, reminding her often that despite the need to want to help everyone, she should not take the frustrations directed at her in a personal way. Diane credits current EVP Dave Humpton with helping her adapt to changing times and technology.
But of those she has worked with in almost four decades at MVF, Diane has been most influenced by Design Consultant George Smith, whom she met early on, when he was employed by Kettler Brothers. Stasiewicz and Smith have made a great team, working together to update materials, colors and designs available to homeowners, all the while maintaining the original design intent and integrity of Village neighborhoods. Diane says she has learned the most from Smith, who taught her to respect how all the design elements in a community work together, much like all the colors in an artist’s palette work to create a great work of art.
Along those lines, Diane says that her proudest accomplishment during her unplanned tenure at MVF has been being a part of creating the Village. As someone with an artistic flair, she has enjoyed working with materials and colors to help create the unique way the different communities come together to form Montgomery Village. And reaching back to her days as a teacher before MVF, she enjoys working with residents and homeowners to help them understand why some things are the way they are, hearing new perspectives that lead to changes and creating a harmonious look that benefits the entire Village.
And as a 40-year resident of Montgomery Village, Diane has embraced not just her job, but all aspects of the community. She fondly recalls watching the July 4th fireworks over Lake Whetstone, taking her children to the pools and other amenities, walking the paths and taking in the natural environment and visiting all the shops the original Village Mall had to offer. She says although the Village has evolved over the years, to her it’s still “the town you love to live in.”
In thinking about MVF, Diane’s fondest memories lie with those she has worked with. She describes their kindness and camaraderie as a second family—and not just with her, but with other staff, as well as truly caring about the community and working in the best interests of all residents. Diane is most proud that she took the risk to apply for a job with the result of being part of building something special in her community.
While Diane says she will miss the people she’s worked with, she will certainly not miss the buzzing of her alarm, signaling another day she has to get up for work. Instead, she will gladly trade that noise for the joyful noise of her grandchildren waking her up; she plans to spend time here and abroad visiting and watching them grow up. After 37 years of managing and troubleshooting resident concerns and home modifications, Diane is opting for a less stressful and more family-oriented retirement.
Diane says, “The Village has always been my home. From the first time I drove into the community, I fell in love with the greenery and the natural aspects. I wanted to be a part of this great community.” About her time spent doing just that, she notes, “I would have liked to do more for the community, but I did the best I could ever do.”
Thank you, Diane, for 37 years of your best work on behalf of the community. Congratulations on your retirement and your impact on Montgomery Village. Your dedication to maintaining the design standards of community has benefitted all Village residents and will be missed.