Who said nothing happens in the dog days of summer?  Here at DCS, we’ve got not one, not two, but THREE major changes to our team to announce.  Even for an organization that isn’t as small or tightly-knit as ours, that would be a pretty big deal.  For us, it’s a game-changer.

We’ll start with the bittersweet.  We’re thrilled to announce that Traci Johnson, Communications and Digital Media Manager (and cornerstone of our DCS team), has accepted a position as the new Program Officer at the Poise Foundation.

The Poise Foundation is an incredible, dynamic local organization, and we’re beyond excited that Traci will now be an integral part of helping to achieve their mission: to assist the Pittsburgh Region’s Black community in achieving self-sustaining practices, through strategic leadership, collective giving, grantmaking, and advocacy.

We know Traci is perfect for the role, because she has already proven her commitment to those values countless times through her work with us.  Traci started with Denny Civic Solutions as an intern, while still a senior at Carlow University.  We offered her a full time Associate position immediately upon graduation, in what was surely one of the most no-brainer decisions we’ve ever had to make as a company.  That’s because from Day One, we were blown away by her dedication, her intelligence, and her creativity.

What we’ll never forget, however, is how easily Traci became a member of our little work family through her kindness, humor, and wit (not to mention her impressive renditions of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Coat of Many Colors”).

So while we are sad to let her go, that sadness is outweighed by our excitement for her to begin this new chapter in her career, and to continue living up to the incredibly high standards of integrity and drive she set while she was with us.  We wish her the absolute best of luck.

Now, onto the part that’s not so bitter, just sweet.  While there’s no replacing Traci, we’re excited about the direction DCS is headed due to two new personnel announcements we can now share.

First, we’re excited to announce an expanded role for our own Charlie Lotz, who has officially been named Denny Civic Solutions Vice President.

It’s hard for us to believe that come September, Charlie will have been working with DCS for six years now.  Charlie actually got connected with us even earlier, while still at United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, via the Campaign for What Works.  In 2012, he started as Denny Civic Solutions’ Social Media and Web Content Director (actually working remotely from Seville, Spain, where he pulled double duty as an ESL teacher), before moving back to Pittsburgh in 2016 and assuming the role of Associate Director.

In those six years, Charlie has been an integral part of projects ranging from our work to expand the Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credit, to helping launch the Making Your Future Campaign with our friends at Catalyst Connection, to (most recently) serving as campaign lead on the statewide #StrongMomStrongBaby postpartum depression effort, to name a few.  We are excited that he will now be expanding on that work from his new position as Vice President (though we haven’t told him yet that he still gets the same chair).

Finally, we’re thrilled to welcome longtime friend and frequent collaborator Ray Firth into a new position as Denny Civic Solutions’ Senior Public Policy Director.  We’re excited to bring Ray’s exceptional skill set (including his near-encyclopedic knowledge of all matters relating to public policy and Pennsylvania’s human services system) in-house.

While Ray may claim that he technically retired about five years back, our own John Denny has always chosen to interpret that status loosely, and we’re honored that he is now officially bringing his intelligence and passion for advocacy to our DCS team…even if it means enduring an endless string of jokes from John about what the “Senior” in his title really means.

Whew!  We think that’s enough change for one month.  And even though we have had to say a tough goodbye to a wonderful coworker and friend, we remain dedicated to that motto we put in the title — onward and upward!