When life threw Matt Veronesi curveballs, he hit them out of the park.
Veronesi is the director of parks, recreation, buildings, and grounds for the Town of New Windsor, but his career took an unusual trajectory. In college, scouts from Major League Baseball teams were looking at him, but he sustained a career-ending knee injury in his sophomore year. The injury ended his dream of playing professional baseball but his love of America’s favorite pastime led him to work with the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays and coach college baseball. His knowledge of baseball also landed him a job as a producer for a production company that needed help creating baseball-themed menus for baseball DVDs.
Later on, Veronesi ended up working as director of instruction and general manager at a baseball and softball training center when another injury forced a change of careers. “I had a lot of trouble with my arm, I ended up having two shoulder surgeries. I taught a lot of lessons and clinics and was throwing a lot. My doctor said, ‘You got to find something else, you can’t keep doing this, you’re not going to be able to lift up your arm,’” Veronesi recalls.
As a result, he applied for a parks and recreation job in New Windsor. Veronesi prepared for the interview like it was a big game. “Instead of just coming and doing a normal interview, I came up with a whole presentation of a video and fliers and everything showing what I wanted to do to make New Windsor recreation better.”
He got the job six years ago and it has been a perfect fit for him and the town. “Since I took over, we’ve raised revenue by a thousand percent and activities by so much,” he says. He adds that he enjoys what he does. “I love coming to work everyday.”
New Windsor’s recreation department organizes camps, youth sports, a free summer concert series that also features free food and drinks, and an annual community day that will take place this year on August 25 and feature fireworks and a performance by “American Idol” finalist Tim Urban. (See Events section for more details).
Born in Poughkeepsie, Veronesi grew up in Dutchess County. He attended college at Nova Southeastern College in South Florida and stayed in the South after graduating, but decided to move back to this to area to be closer to his family after September 11, 2001.
Veronesi has a 21-year-old stepson, Brendan, and he and his wife Jenn have an 11-month old baby boy named Mattingly, after New York Yankees great and Veronesi’s all time favorite player, Don Mattingly.
Veronesi says his job is always changing and never ever dull. “There is so much variety, you never get bored. We do concerts, we do a community event, we do sports—a soccer program, basketball program, tennis, we do summer camps. It’s very rewarding, in that you get to see a final product, you get to see a concert, get to see a camp that ran successfully.” Nwrecisfun.com