Robert Mulcahy has been a dedicated member of the FOPG team for nearly ten years now. This week we wanted to put Bob under the spotlight and ask him a few questions. We discussed his history with Friends as well as his ideas for our future.
What is your role in the Friends of the Public Garden Organization?
I was hired as a project manager, mostly for projects dealing directly on the grounds of the three parks (The Boston Common, The Public Garden, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall), capital improvement projects, the Brewer Fountain as an example, our tree inventory and yearly pruning work and disease control, soils and turf work, etc. I work with other committee chair people, like the Commonwealth Avenue Committee, the Common Committee and the Public Garden Horticultural Committee. I also work with an outside team of consultants that act as our eyes and ears on many projects.
When did you first become involved with FOPG?
I first became involved almost a decade ago, working with the city of Boston in the Parks and Recreation Department. I was a project manager for the George Francis Parkman trust fund, overseeing a portion of the funds money and setting up maintenance-contracts. Two of the parks, the Common and the Public Garden were beneficiaries of the fund and through them I started working with Henry Lee and understanding the role the Friends play in the city of Boston.
What do you think your biggest accomplishment has been during your work with FOPG?
I truly don’t think I accomplished anything just yet. I was delighted and honored to receive this job and be able to follow in the footsteps of what people like Henry have done over the last 40 years. Anything I have accomplished has been from those who came before as well as with the help of the professionals I am working with every day.
Any project that didn’t go as well as hoped?
In a way, all of them. Certain aspects of each project gets you frustrated and in a bind. You get frustrated with yourself, or the vendor. There’s nothing specific, but each project has its own quirks and challenges that you need to deal with and work through.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for FOPG moving forward?
The biggest challenge is well, not really a challenge, but we’re helping oversee these wonderful properties, and as the organization has grown the leadership aspect has changed, like with Henry Lee’s retirement. So keeping open communication and relationships with the other vested people, agencies and organizations in Boston remains very important. To continue fundraising and promoting the stewardship of these great properties and to continue to bring everyone together to improve the parks the way the public wants them to be improved.
What do you see as the FOPG goals for the future, any big projects?
We do have a bigger project coming up, phase 2 of the Brewer Plaza reconstruction project. If everything goes as planned, we should be breaking ground by fall 2013, which would be a big accomplishment for the organization and bring a multi year project to a close. Another big project is in the Public Garden, and doing a redesign, essentially a beautification project on the Boylston street border using existing plants. Every year tree work is a huge part of who the organization is and what we do. Especially protecting the beautiful community of elm trees in all three parks from Dutch Elm Disease. Finally, we’re working to try to understand the soil and underlying soil structure and how we can improve that to improve the overall health of the trees.