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Greens Keeper: Michael Abrahams '77
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Michael Abrahams ’77 can often be found shooting a weekly 18 holes at Leo J. Martin Memorial Golf Course in Weston, Mass. But the public course is more than a place to work on his drive: He manages its capital budget, along with those of every other state-owned recreational property in Massachusetts.
The alumnus has been director of capital funds for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) since 2006.
“We encourage citizens of the commonwealth to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors – and the better job we do, the more that's appreciated,” says Abrahams, who counts golf, tennis and kayaking among his own avid pursuits.
His work centers on overseeing improvements, renovations and additions to facilities on some 450,000 acres of land under DCR management – about 10 percent of state. In addition to public golf courses, the array includes state parks, forests, pools and beaches, dams, skating rinks, and hiking trails. Abrahams is charged with apportioning the approximately $100 million per year allotted to the DCR for capital projects.
“We’re able to do a lot with limited resources,” he says of the funds, which come from state and federal coffers as well as private donations. “But we could always use more.”
Indeed, the department’s running to-do list of projects tops $1 billion. Prioritizing the funding needs is as much art as science, as Abrahams works to keep DCR infrastructure in full working order. Some of the skills he brings to the task reflect lessons learned at Bentley. For example, Abrahams recalls the so-called corridor principle, which holds that opportunities (or “open doors”) are visible only when you move along a path, not at its starting point.
“Those kinds of messages – more than just debits and credits – are what really gave me the basis for having a successful career in state government,” says the former Accountancy major, who lives in Waltham.
One opportunity that he and DCR colleagues are working on is bringing a PGA event to a state-owned golf course in the next few years – a move that would be, well, an ace for the agency.
“The long-term benefit would be tremendous,” says Abrahams. “We see an opportunity to make DCR’s public courses a destination for golfers everywhere.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.