Voting in the 2018 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 5 through April 2. This week, we will continue posting profiles on each of the candidates.
Featured here is John Pinkman, who is facing six other candidates for two at-large seats for a three-year term. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.
How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?
I have lived in Reston for 40 years. After reading an article in the NY Times I visited Reston around 1970. The townhouses lining Lake Anne, the only lake in town at that time, were 2×4 sticks just being framed. I returned in 1978 looking for a permanent home for the family. I arrived on the weekend of the Reston Festival at the Lake Anne Plaza. It was such a joyous international community event with such diversity. I immediately fell in love. Still am.
What inspired you to run for the board?
Five years ago I co-founded Rescue Reston. Working closely with the county and RA, as we fought to defend open space, we realized that working together was more beneficial than organizing opposition separately. As successful as we have been, I believe we need a greater unification of community action. We need to unite the Reston Spirit. We face external challenges to the culture we have built for 50 years. The proposed senseless development is foreign to how Reston historically has grown. Take your profits and run, is not how we became Reston. The integrity of “let’s build what’s good for the long term benefit to the town” is how we thrived together. Now we see irresponsible growth expressed in “what can we get away with”. It looms in the future and on the bottom lines of external sources.
What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?
I see concerns as opportunities to share a vision of uniting a positive and cohesive future.
- Protecting Open Space preserves the very identity of Reston as a planned community.
- Maintaining our nature standards and planning for the future of Parks and Recreation amenities protects our property values and quality of life.
- Public Safety – Many years ago Reston was a safe community. The police use to say it was because the criminals couldn’t find their way out of town after burglary! It’s naïve to think that that is still true today. Although RA does not have responsibility for public safety we should increase our cooperation with police and fire first responders to raise awareness and use our best efforts to work with them in crime prevention and home security. The term “first responders” is meaningful – they respond. Their main mission is to respond to emergencies. It is our job, our mission, to work with them to enhance the term “prevent”.
What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?
We need to create an Annual Leadership Summit between neighborhood leaders and RA. We need to listen to each other’s needs and challenges. Listening shows respect. Conversations give birth to solutions.
As a professional baseball instructor and coach for 36 years I understand the need to create a unifying Reston Sports Council. The athletic community shares one goal – teaching children athletic values that they can use off the field, court, or pool to become excellent citizen leaders. Working together we can support the growth of individual sports, parks and facilities. Sharing excess capabilities and assisting each other’s needs for expansion helps everyone. Unifying safety standards is in everyone’s best interest. As Reston residents age in place, we need to learn how to provide social sports as well as we have understood competitive youth sports for decades.
Finally, I support and believe it is vital, to create a member survey that would assess the needs of the community as to parks and recreation use. It is important to learn from Restonians their needs as together we determine the future of Reston. Community leadership is creating a vision and listening to the people you serve.
How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?
During my 36 years as a coach and professional instructor I have learned that successful coaches are team builders. Creating a winning team begins by building trust. Trust begins with sharing information and the truth. Communicating what the team has in common and the joint vision for the future generates action. Teams that are apathetic or confronted with individuals, who present a unique self-interest, do not endure. In the context of a community, town or city, there are varying and very local challenges to neighborhoods. Whether faced with a success or threat, leaders must recognize that any one issue may affect us all.
When evaluating a player or creating team strategy a coach must consider one skill or one game at a time. Observe, analyze, provide or obtain information, then if necessary make changes for improvement. The process is reasonable and objective. The integrity of the team or community is exposed in the process. As we live together and work together we all seek improvement and with the assistance of each other the community succeeds.
Photo by Reston Association