Robert Kimble

Robert Kimble is the new director of the Pacific County Department of Public Works, which maintains county roads, bridges, ditches and other vital infrastructure.

SOUTH BEND — The Pacific County Department of Public Works has welcomed a new director after the Pacific County Commissioners voted 2-0 on Feb. 9 to hire Robert Kimble to the position. He worked as an hourly employee through February during his move to the area and hit full steam ahead on Mar. 1.

Kimble brings along with him over a decade of education and experience, and he most recently worked in environmental conservation in Alaska. On top of his experience, he has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho.

“I accepted the position because I genuinely liked the people I met during the interview process,” Kimble said. “The commissioners and staff so far have been wonderful to work with, and many being long-standing members of the community. They all, from what I can tell from my short time here, they all hold the best interest of Pacific County.”

“I just think that I can be a positive influence on the organization of Pacific County and best serve the citizens by leading the department in its pursuit of delivering quality projects and administering efficient programs that properly leverage taxpayer dollars. Obviously, it’s a beautiful setting, climatically [and] geologically diverse and more rural in character,” he added.

Kimble already has a vision for his position and duties at the department and sums it up in just one word, “elevate.”

“I am looking to elevate the Public Works Department in every way possible,” he said. “That sounds very simple but making this vision a reality is actually quite complex. Principally, above all, it’s by keeping lines of communication open and remaining accessible to the community I serve. [I also] get there by understanding internally the people I lead and exploring their problem-solving styles.”

“Most importantly, I {span}get there by making a point to acknowledge their valuable contributions{/span}. They are all members of the community and the work products that they deliver; they take personal pride in that as a reflection on themselves. That’s something you can’t buy in the open market, someone who comes in and cares about their job. The people I have worked with and the ones I’ve met so far that I’ve gotten to know, they are wonderful people,” he added.

Since he’s only been in the position for just over a month, Kimble doesn’t have any major projects that he is eyeing and expects it to take around six months for him to get to full swing. However, he has already noticed one potential issue he already has on his radar.

“We have an aging fleet, and so trying to understand our equipment utilization rates and the best way to finance and structure our fleet management approach going forward is certainly a big hurdle. Working through our budgets and understanding those, those are actually rather complex with the commingling of state and federal monies.”

Kimble admits he is excited about the position and one of the biggest reasons he landed in Pacific County is how the area and work fit in with the core of his philosophy.

“I became an engineer not for the pursuit of personal gain but for contributions to society. That’s why I thought the position would be a good fit for me,” he said. “I’m just really looking forward to integrating myself into the community coming from outside.”

The county offered Kimble the top end of the salary range, and he will make $9,416 a month, which will total $112,992 annually. His salary will be adjusted annually with any cost of living adjustments given to other managers.

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