Whether he is at work or at home, Mike Squire is listening to the needs of the community.
He listens not only within the Huffman Historic District, where he has lived for nearly a decade and is a past president of the neighborhood association, but throughout Dayton. His job as the city’s division manager for community engagement is simply a continuation of what he enjoys doing in his day-to-day life: connecting with others.
“I love hearing their stories, their problems and concerns, and trying to figure out ways to solve things,” said Squire, 36.
Neighborhoods are his passion. Each location’s needs and concerns are a little different, and Squire does what he can to help boost communications to and from the city and its neighborhoods. That can include many things, including connecting residents to neighborhood groups, pointing them to grants or picking up trash.
“I believe that we have here what we need to make our community a better place for everybody,” he said.
Squire works to make Dayton a better place every day, said Meg Maloney, who nominated him as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem. His position with the city is a natural extension of what he does so well: listening and connecting.
Maloney, who works in the city’s sustainability office, lauded Squire’s willingness to go the extra mile. That includes caring for abandoned properties in his neighborhood, helping to maintain Old Greencastle Cemetery and volunteering with other organizations.
Not just everyone can convince others to move to the city and grow roots, but Mike has, she said.
“I think he’s very passionate about not only the people of Dayton, but also the community we can cultivate,” said Maloney, who lives in the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood.
Working with neighborhoods isn’t a 9-to-5 job, Squire said. One time an Old North Dayton resident reported traffic issues on the street, so Squire arranged to meet the resident at 6 a.m., when the noise was particularly loud.
“At the heart of it, everything I do is centered around the people of Dayton,” he said.
When he isn’t at work, Squire might be found at Veritas Community Church, where he is a deacon of mercy who connects people to resources. He also coaches soccer, is working toward a goal of running every street in Dayton and is raising four young children with his wife, Jennifer. Squire, who is originally from Cleveland, met her when they were both students at Wright State University.
Squire is happy to teach his kids what it means to grow up in the Dayton community, and he will sometimes have one or two of them with him as he attends a neighborhood meeting.
New residents may be attracted to Huffman and other neighborhoods across the city for the interesting architecture or another reason, but they stay because of the friendships and bonds they form with their neighbors, he said. That’s hard to duplicate.
“I’ve received so much more from this city than I will ever give,” he said.