Bryan Braun, lifelong lover of golf and golf courses, doesn't get his hands around his clubs much these days, even though he is on a course virtually all day, every day.
Braun is the lead heavy equipment operator at the Oak Hills Golf Course and is the February 2017 winner of the Jefferson City Outstanding Employee Service Award.
He and his wife, Renee, who live in St. Thomas, have two children, Kenadi, 12, and Jackson 9, and spend most of their free time coaching and otherwise involved with their active kids, Braun said.
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"I've always loved the outdoors and played a lot of golf and baseball, more baseball than golf, but not lately," Braun said. He worked five years as an intern and groundskeeper at the Jefferson City Country Club as he was attending Helias High School and the University of Missouri at Columbia. Braun earned his bachelor's degree in turf management and plant science in 2001, after which he went to work almost immediately with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
"This was my first job and my only job so far," said Braun, who will celebrate 16 years with Parks in May.
This week, his work with the department found him at Binder Park installing standards on the new volleyball courts, followed immediately by operating the mini-excavator in preparation for new bleacher pads.
"I've always loved the outdoors, and this job is perfect," said Braun, who was honored in an awards ceremony at City Hall this week.
City Administrator Steve Crowell and Parks Director Todd Spalding nominated Braun for the award.
"Mr. Braun is a great Parks employee and has done an excellent job of maintaining Oak Hills Golf Course," Crowell read from the award resolution. "Mr. Braun also has worked on numerous other projects at various parks and within the city.
"(He) has suggested and/or initiated several projects for the city. One example of an excellent project on which Mr. Braun participated was the tee and green renovations, most recently on Hole 9 for Oak Hills. For the Hole 9 renovations, Mr. Braun took it upon himself to be the lead person for the job, taking the initiative and, with the assistance of other staff, building two sand bunkers around the green and also building the green and installing all of the irrigation.
"Mr. Braun was thorough in his work, taking the opportunity to teach other employees how to properly complete the necessary work," Crowell continued. "Mr. Braun has gone above and beyond to make sure Oak Hills is a great place to play golf.
"His leadership is evident through the various projects on which he has worked, leading to an improved quality of life for patrons who use various Parks, city facilities and projects. Mr. Braun has a great work ethic; he is very detail oriented; works well with others; and is very self-motivated and needs very little supervision. Mr. Braun is thorough, insists on quality projects and has saved a tremendous amount of money and time on all of the projects with which he has been involved."