A first in the history of VALA – The Michael P. Cyprian Award has been given to two Listers this year from the town of Reading, Vermont.  The Directors of VALA unanimously voted to present a Co-Lister of the Year Award to VALA President John Fike and VALA Membership Chair Penny Allyn!  Congratulations!  Each were told the other was nominated for the award and were asked to write a letter of nomination for the other!  Of course this led to moments of surprise, laughter and congratulations to each other.

VALA established the Michael P. Cyprian, Lister of the Year Award in 1991 to honor Listers and Assessors who demonstrate fairness to all, dedication, helpfulness, worked to improve the listing process and pursued better education for the assessment community.

The award is named for Michael P Cyprian who was the ‘Ultimate Lister’. He was active in his town, volunteering his expertise on many committees. He was well trained as a Lister and chose to become a professional appraiser. His integrity, his unquestioned fairness, and his ability to communicate with the townspeople, his sense of humor, and his high level of professionalism marked Michael’s eleven years as a Lister. He was an active VALA member and offered much Lister training.

The following is a summary of the nomination letter presented to John Fike at VALA’s Annual Meeting:

A Leader is defined as:  Strong, bold and results driven.

Warren Bennis, who passed away recently at the young age of 89, was considered by many to be the father of leadership studies and “his thinking focused on the premise that leadership is not an innate quality, but rather a set of skills that could be developed”.  Mr. Bennis also made a “clear distinction between management and leadership, arguing that the role of the manager was to plan, organize and coordinate”, whereas the role of the leader was “to inspire and motivate”. 

What makes John Fike exceptional is his passion to inspire, lead and motivate those around him.  He is one of those rare individuals who continually strive to improve the process, whether it is assessing properties, finding new and exciting technological innovations, analyzing reams of statistical reports, or educating the public or fellow Listers.  His knowledge and commitment to his profession, fellow Listers and the public is limitless.  John Fike’s management and leadership qualities has helped transform VALA into what it is today, a Professional Organization that garners respect across the state, a pivotal voice in Vermont’s Legislature, and a crucial proponent for higher education.

John’s past work history is as varied as it is long… starting with his current position as a Lister of 14 years, and now entering his sixth year as President of the VALA.  John has worn many other hats throughout his professional life which include countless years as a Corporate Executive, President of the Vermont School Board, and an academic teacher of science & chemistry amongst other things.  As you might guess, John is an avid proponent of higher education and firmly believes that as the job of Listers and Assessors becomes more complex that education will become more crucial in the role of assessment.     

It is with great pleasure that the Vermont Assessors and Listers Association unanimously nominate John B. Fike as this year’s recipient of the Michael P. Cyprian Award!  John has worked diligently over the years on behalf of the residents of Reading to ensure that each is treated with utmost respect, and takes whatever time is necessary to help in anyway needed.  He never fails to make sure each and every one is treated equally and has a thorough understanding of their assessment.   John’s expertise often times extends beyond the town of Reading to help Listers in other towns better understand their equalization study, the complexities of assessment or legislative issues that might impact Listers throughout the State of Vermont. 

On behalf of VALA we congratulate John Fike on receiving this prestigious award!  We also want to thank John for his continued commitment to the field of assessment and for being an outspoken advocate on behalf of all Listers throughout the State of Vermont!
Penny Allyn, VALA Membership Chair

The following is a summary of the nomination letter presented to Penny Allyn at VALA’s Annual Meeting:

This year’s winner began her career 7 years ago, just in time for completing a town-wide reappraisal.  This experience did not deter her from continuing as a Lister.

She took many of the education offerings by PV&R and met the challenge of completing a number of IAAO classes and workshops (Not without some protesting to her fellow Lister’s).   Together we developed our land schedule that was used in the town-wide reappraisal.  She became very efficient in Excel, CAMA, NEMRC, Apex, and Photo software.  Her high expectations for organization, structure, and attention to detail have produced excellent office procedures and best office practices.

Penny has been an active member on the local library board and the local food shelf.  She has an excellent relationship with the town’s parcel owners and is always available to answer their questions. 

Penny has been an integral member of the VALA team in the makeover of the organization into the NEW VALA.  Penny took on the responsibility of learning how to manage the VALA website, created detailed Excel membership information, produces the quarterly newsletter, and markets the organization to Vermont Listers.  Her work has been outstanding in achieving record membership and revenue. 

We have worked together as a team on many Reading Lister, VALA, and consulting projects for the past 7+ years.  We are best friends, working partners with mutual respect for each other’s talents and expertise.  We constantly challenge each other to raise the quality bar. 

I can think of no Lister better qualified for receiving the 2014 Lister of the Year Award than Penny Allyn.
John Fike, VALA President

The Vermont Assessors & Listers Association
proudly presents the 2014 Michael P. Cyprian Award
to John Fike and Penny Allyn!

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