THE MAN WHO LIGHTS UP THE COMMON: Wilmington DPW’s Scott Smith To Retire After 43 Years

Below is a press release from the Town of Wilmington:

WILMINGTON, MA — For the last 20 years approximately, Scott Smith has been running the Wilmington DPW Tree Division’s daily work crew. This division is responsible for the maintenance, care, and removal of all town owned trees in Wilmington. In addition, this division has been decorating the trees on the Town Common every year for the annual Tree Lighting.

With the help of the electricians at the Wilmington Public Building’s Department and support from the Wilmington 4th of July Committee and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the tree lighting became an annual tradition that many residents have looked forward to.  The trees are lit with over 10,000 bulbs which as of a few years ago are now all energy efficient LED bulbs.  Mr. Smith and his tree division begin preparing for the tree lighting around Halloween when they organize, check, and repair all bulbs and sockets used for the project.  If you believe it’s frustrating detangling lights for your own Christmas Tree at home, imagine having to do this for over 10,000 bulbs.  The system is checked daily, and especially after wind events, to make sure it is still illuminating as it should during the month of December.

Sadly, the 2020 Tree Lighting was canceled this year due to Covid19.  This would have been Scott’s last annual tree lighting as he plans to retire in April of 2021 after what will be an astonishing total of 43 years working for the Town of Wilmington.  Scott’s contributions to Wilmington go well beyond the tree lighting – he has been one of the driving forces in severe weather response for both tree damage and snow removal and is one of the best snow plow operators this town has ever had the pleasure of having on staff.  To know Scott was watching over the Town during hurricanes, micro-bursts, severe thunderstorms, and snow events was to have a sense of security knowing that the roads will continue to be open and public safety would be restored in short order.

Here’s to Scott Smith – a truly unsung Wilmington DPW First Responder, working arborist, and mastermind behind the Wilmington Tree Lighting.

“I’ve had the pleasure or working with Scott for approximately 16 years myself and his work ethic and drive is downright inspiring,” said Jamie Magaldi, Wilmington’s Public Works Operations Manager and Tree Warden. “Scott opened up my eyes to the world of arboriculture and helped propel my own career path toward becoming a Massachusetts Certified Arborist.  It’s impressive and refreshing when your subordinates have that kind of impact on you…they’re technically working for you but their abilities and attributes inspire you to become a better person.  Scott will truly be missed on our team, but is a retirement well deserved.”

Scott lives in Wilmington and grew up here as well.  He is the son of the late Lester Smith, a former Wilmington Fire Fighter.

Scott began his career with Wilmington in April of 1978 on the town’s Cedar Program, a sort of work apprenticeship program that was offered at that time which allowed younger workers to try out work force.

He began as a custodian at the Boutwell School at that time, but when proposition 2 ½ came along, he was laid off. There was a full-time opening at the Department of Public Works and on September 15, 1980 he began his full time career as a member of the Wilmington DPW Highway Division.

Over time, Scott showed great dedication and commitment to any job he was assigned and soon moved up the ranks as a heavy equipment operator and frequently filled in as a tree worker for the Tree Division has he became a talented working arborist through on-the-job training. Scott was promoted to Parks & Grounds Foreman for a short period, after which he transferred to Tree Foreman once the job was vacant due to former Tree Foreman Robert Allen’s retirement.

Scott’s plans for retirement include taking a step back and evaluating his options for relaxing, seeking part time employment, or simply watching the snow fall from behind his window for a change.  He resides in Wilmington with his wife MaryBeth and has 3 adult aged children.

Scott Smith

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