Page 41 - BusinessWest May 2, 2022
P. 41

     Tiana Davis
Deputy Public Health Commissioner, City of Springfield; Age 34
Lucy Damkoehler
Owner, Sweet Lucy’s Bakeshop; Age 39
Lucy Damkoehler has always blended (that’s an industry 10 more people calling for them,” she said, adding that the pot
term) her passion for baking with a desire to give back to the community.
But during the pandemic, these twin forces came together as never before, and in a very powerful way.
The program was called Take & Bake Meals. It started small, right after the lockdown in mid-March
2020, with Damkoehler, chef and owner of the suddenly sidelined Sweet Lucy’s Bakeshop in
Bernardston, making six chicken pot pies with the belief that elderly individuals and families coping with COVID could use them. Suffice it to say, she was right.
“I had these pies ... I said, ‘I’m going to put this on
Facebook, and maybe one or two people will want one.’ Within a half-hour, every
one of them was sold, and I had
pies, mac-and-cheese dinners, and other offerings would be dropped off on neighbors’ doorsteps, sent off to colleges, and brought to others in need of quick, nutritious meals. At the height of the program, she was making 50 to 60 meals a day.
And while Take & Bake Meals certainly helped those in
the community, it gave a new and improved lease on life to Sweet Lucy’s Bakeshop as well. Indeed, the pot pies have now become a staple for the business, and they have introduced it to new audiences that have become steady clients, enabling Damkoehler to add employees and grow her venture.
Take & Bake helps explain why Damkoehler is a 40 Under Forty honoree, but there is so much more to the story. She started baking at a very young age and took her first job at a bakery in Deerfield. She earned an associate of occupational studies degree at New England Culinary Institute, then moved to New York to work under Claudia Fleming at the Gramercy Tavern. She eventually settled in Washington and spent the next 12 years building her reputation as an industry leader.
Desiring to return home — and fulfill her dream of opening her own business, she launched Sweet Lucy’s Bakeshop. In addition to those pot pies, it specializes in croissants,
muffins, scones, cookies, and more.
As noted, Damkoehler is also active in the community,
serving on the board of trustees for the Cushman Library in Bernardson. She’s also involved with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County Community
Meals, and Empty Arms Bereavement Support.
— George O’Brien
  When you hear someone referring to a “friend of the homeless,” they may be talking about Tiana Davis.
After working for years in healthcare, Davis changed her career path from direct patient care to public health. When she earned her master of public health degree with a concentration in community health education and health policy & management from UMass Amherst, she didn’t envision herself in her current position, but she’s found that she has a passion for service.
Davis, who first earned an associate’s degree
at Springfield Technical Community College, oversees services for the Homeless Health
Center, a federally qualified health center in the city of Springfield that provides quality primary healthcare, dental care, behavioral-health services, and comprehensive support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness within Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.
She oversees the day-to-day operations relating to patient care, staff development, training, program data and collection, and billing. She also manages the contracts with community partners with whom she collaborates to provide services to individuals within the community. For instance, she works closely with Mercy Medical Center and Baystate Health.
Davis works tirelessly to ensure that people without housing are treated with dignity and respect by assuring that quality medical care is rendered. She has strengthened partnerships by
cultivating relationships with open-door/open- pantry programs and the Friends of the Homeless program by helping to enhance their case- management systems.
As a consummate professional who takes her job very seriously, Davis led the Homeless Health Center organization through a site visit that was conducted by the Health Resources Services Administration, the department’s federal funding organization, and was extremely successful.
Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris noted that, during the pandemic, Davis’s ability to guide health services for the homeless was key to assuring that medical care for homeless population was rendered with steadfast consistency through that difficult period.
Davis received recognition from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) for staff-development programs. The citation acknowledges her commitment to public service, as well as her ongoing dedication to enhance the quality of services delivered to residents of the Commonwealth.
When asked what she does for fun outside of work, she replied, “I love gardening and eating.
I like to explore different types of foods from various cultural backgrounds. I like trying different foods and going to different places to eat.”
— Elizabeth Sears
2022 A 1 7

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