Don Cummings receives the Frederick H. Tuttle honor from South Burlington’s Rotary Club. L-R Club President Leslie Mercy, Don Cummings, Bruce Chattman and Penne Tompkins

Service Above Self: Rotary Honors Cummings with the Frederick H. Tuttle Memorial Award 

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Thursday February 08, 2018

Don Cummings was recently named the recipient of the 2017 Frederick H. Tuttle Memorial Award. Presented by the Rotary Club of South Burlington, Cummings was recognized for his service to the community as an active and enthusiastic member of the South Burlington Energy Committee (SBEC). The award, which is in its 24th year, is given to honorees whose commitment to their vocation and their community exemplify the dedication of former school superintendent Frederick H. Tuttle, who represents the ideals of Rotary and its “service above self” motto. Fellow SBEC members submitted Cummings’ nomination citing his continuity of leadership, integrity, and dedication that have produced measurable results for South Burlington in the areas of energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable resources. 

Longtime Rotarian and former South Burlington School District Superintendent Bruce Chattman presented the award to Cummings on behalf of the Rotary club. After decades of professional experience in software development and project management, Cummings, a South Burlington resident, was recognized for working tirelessly as a volunteer in the arena of energy efficiency and conservation to advance the SBEC mission.
“Don has spent nearly a decade applying his visionary, analytical, collaborative project management and implementation skills to energy-related projects,” said SBEC member Marcy Murray. She adds, “Having met with the generous Fred Tuttle decades ago, I’m guessing that he would see great value in Don Cummings’ intentions, work, and way of being.” 

After managing software development projects at IBM in Essex Junction for most of his career, Cummings worked as a project management consultant helping local companies implement new projects and developing their skills to support future efforts. SBEC member Patty Tashiro says Cummings “not only cares very deeply about the environment, and the legacy we leave our children, but also for friends, family, and his fellow committee members.”

SBEC Vice Chair Keith Epstein said, “Don proposes innovative projects, plans them thoroughly, advocates for them, and follows them through to completion.” The two were coordinators on the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition. Epstein added, “During the few years that we have worked closely together on this project, I have come to respect and appreciate Don’s experience, planning ability, dedication to his community, and sincere passion for energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy. I have emerged a better leader and team member because of Don’s advice and partnership.”

Members of the energy committee credit Cummings and his contributions for the success of SBEC projects including the CFL Switch Campaign that resulted in over 30,000 incandescent light bulbs being changed to CFLs, LED streetlight and municipal lighting upgrades that presented an annual savings of $29,000, and a $40,000 grant for condominium weatherization. In addition, Cummings was noted as being a significant contributor to the energy related sections of the most recent update to the South Burlington Comprehensive Plan and related land development regulations as well as being co-coordinator of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, which saved residents $750,000 a year in electric and natural gas costs.

Tashiro adds, “His contributions stand out above all others as his sheer dedication and time spent are unequaled.” 

In accepting the award, Cummings noted that receiving recognition from the Rotary Club of South Burlington was special because Rotarians themselves are dedicated volunteers. In addition, he added that all SBEC efforts were the result of teamwork, noting the many volunteers with whom he serves.

As part of the award, South Burlington Rotary donates to Cummings’ charity of choice. In recognition of his service, $250 was given to Spectrum Youth and Family Services. A plaque commemorating all recipients of the Frederick H. Tuttle Memorial Award is on display at city hall. 

SOURCE: Penne Tompkins, South Burlington Rotary Club