A lifelong resident of Huntington, Don McKay was raised on Eaton’s Neck and now resides with his family in Dix Hills. Following graduation from Northport High School in 1983, Don went on to attend Bethany College in West Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications in 1987. He took his first job with the college, serving one year as an admissions counselor.
Don returned home and embarked on his journalistic career as a reporter for the Islip News. Several years later, he was hired as the Saratoga County government reporter for The Saratogian, a daily paper in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1994, Don again returned home to take a position as editor of the Huntington News. In January 1998, Don changed gears and joined the Town of Huntington as a legislative aide to Councilman Steve Israel. Following Steve’s election to the United States Congress, Don joined the staff of Supervisor Frank Petrone as the Town’s public information officer. Don’s primary duties in this position involved researching, writing and distributing media advisories and press releases for the Supervisor, Town Board members and various Town departments. He was also responsible for planning, organizing and overseeing press conferences and following-up with print and electronic media on press advisories and releases distributed.
Following the retirement of Emerson Boozer in 2005, Don was appointed Director of Parks and Recreation, a position he continues to hold today. As Director of Parks, Don oversees a full-time staff of 19 and a seasonal staff of more than 350. The Department’s operating budget totals $6.5 million and its programs and activities generate more than $7.7 million annually. The Parks Department is responsible for operations at the Dix Hills Ice Rink complex; Crab Meadow and Dix Hills golf courses; and the issuance of permits for 86 fields and facilities that benefit an estimated 40 youth and adult sport organizations. During the summer, the Department operates five camp programs, four playground and three pre-school programs. As Director, Don also manages the Town’s eight beaches and the Dix Hills Pool.
Over the past several years, Don has participated in the planning, design and construction of numerous capital improvement projects. These include the new and expanded Dix Hills Ice Rink; five synthetic turf fields; various playgrounds; skate park; revitalization of Crab Meadow and Dix Hills golf courses; and the development of Half Hollow Park in Melville and Breezy Park in Huntington.
Don comes from a family of distinguished public service. His mother, Ruth, served a trustee and chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Northport-East Northport Public Library for 30 years. His father, Alex, was an English teacher in the Huntington School District for 35 years. Alex also served on the Huntington Planning Board for seven years. This year, he entered his 36th year as a member of the Board of Trustee s of the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.
Throughout his tenure as a public servant, Don has worked tirelessly to enhance the quality of life for Huntington residents. He has served on numerous committees and advisory boards; he has organized countless programs and services to honor and recognize outstanding citizens and organizations; and spearheaded efforts on behalf of the Supervisor and Town Board members to benefit communities throughout the Township. He has worked alongside civic leaders and community activists to resolve neighborhood issues and problems. He has championed the causes of veterans’ organizations; senior citizens, youth sports organizations and many, many others.
Over the years, Don has volunteered for many not-for-profit organizations committed to helping residents of Huntington. He is a former member of the Rotary Club of Huntington and a past trustee of the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. Currently, Don serves on the Board of Directors of the Cow Harbor Warriors, a group of Northport residents committed to helping Wounded Warriors and their families. He also serves on the Erika Josephson Golf Committee and is the founder of the Kyle A. McKay Golf Classic, an annual event to benefit families stricken with pediatric cancer. Don is also a member of the Nature Conservancy, Huntington YMCA and Half Hollow Hills Little League.
Don and his wife, Lauren, reside in Dix Hills with their two children, Allison and Kyle and their dog, Lucy.