When I was first introduced to Dan Wright, I couldn’t imagine anyone more foreign to me: he drove a little red sports car, always wore sunglasses, never had a hair out of place. He also sat on the Mammoth Lakes Town Council from 2000-2004 and as he reflects upon it now, believed in the Town’s vision and direction at the time. “As they say, I drank the Kool-Aid,” he said this week when I caught up with him at the Summit Condominiums.
Wright moved to Mammoth from Arcadia 23 years ago to take the job as the Summit’s property manager. “I loved it [both the job and the Town] from the very first,” he said. “It was the right fit for me.”
The Summit, which is comprised of nine buildings and 213 units, is the largest straight condo complex in Mammoth, and Wright oversaw a team of three full-time employees, which was augmented by an additional 6 to 12 seasonal employees during the summer and winter seasons.
One of Wright’s biggest accomplishments was shepherding the Summit’s $12 million renovation project to completion. Dialogue about the project began in 2002, but construction did not actually begin until five years later.
Some of the owner assessments [based on square footage] topped $60,000, but Wright said the renovation project passed on the first ballot with 63% of the vote.
When he moved here with his wife (of 44 years) Carrol, Wright’s three children were 18, 16 and 14 at the time. Two of the children remain in the area. Son Bill is a General Contractor and daughter Susie is a Nurse at Mammoth Hospital. The Wrights’ other daughter Michelle works as a Special Education teacher in Poway.
By nature and in practice, Dan describes himself as “not a doomsdayer. I’m maybe optimistic to a fault,” he says. “Collectively [in Mammoth] there are just a lot of good people in this town who care about this town.”
It is this sentiment, and Dan’s community activism, which was also somewhat foreign to me. But Dan, and people like Dan, are what make communities run.
Consider for just a moment this lengthy resume:
Served on Town council from 2000 to 2004, the last two years as Mayor Pro Tem.
Past President of the Mammoth Lakes Rotary Club.
Past member for 12 years and President of the Mono County Search and Rescue Team for three terms.
Past president of the Mammoth Chamber of Commerce for two years.
Current member of the Southern Mono County Hospital District Board of Directors for seven years serving as the Secretary to the Board.
Past member of the Board of Directors for the Mammoth Times.
Past member of the Tourism and the Parks and Recreation Commissions.
Member of the Council of Elders at Mammoth Christian Fellowship.
Past Foreman for the Mono County Grand Jury.
Current team Leader for Habitat For Humanity International Global Village Program – 13 years. Building homes around the world for those less fortunate.
As Dan says, “It’s very important for people to volunteer and be a part of their community … I did it willingly and I enjoyed it. It’s been a great ride.”
Though Wright and I were rarely in agreement during his tenure as a Councilman, I admire his participation and his service.
As Wright recalled, when he complained to then-Councilman Dave Watson about some town issue way back when, Watson just said, “If you’ve got issues … run for a seat.”
Best wishes to Dan and Carrol as they proceed to the next chapter of their lives in Indio.