Alicia Heiser is Winnemucca's new assistant city manager and engineer. Steve West, who worked as city manager and engineer for the City of Winnemucca for the past 35 years, is now retired but is still consulting two days a week.
West is working with Heiser to complete several critical public works projects. Mayor Di An Putnam said it's likely he'll continue to assist on a part-time basis through budget preparation and employee negotiations and then Heiser will be on her own as city manager-engineer.
Heiser was the council's, the mayor's, and West's hands-down favorite to fill the job of city manager and engineer. She managed to impress everyone who interviewed her.
"Heiser has a great personality and is extremely well-qualified," said Mayor Putnam. "They've moved here and found a house. Her husband got a job with the county and they have the cutest little girl you've ever seen, 16 months old."
Council members Paige Brooks and Mike Owens were on the committee that interviewed Heiser. Both said Heiser's preparation for the interview and for the job itself was incredibly thorough.
"She wasn't thrown by any of the questions we asked her," said Brooks. "She was so comfortable."
Former City Manager and Engineer Steve West noted that Heiser has a doctorate in engineering. He said that although she may not have that same level of experience in the city management portion of the job, "she is the caliber of person who can learn anything."
When Heiser's parents read an article about Steve West giving two years' notice of his retirement, they called Heiser and told her. She immediately began taking classes in local government and notified the Mayor and West that she was interested in applying for the position when it became available. She will be taking advantage of more human resources training from POOL/PACT, Nevada's Public Agency Insurance group.
"When I started as city manager, I didn't have any management experience either," West said. "I had only a little exposure to local government as a consulting city engineer for Ely while working for an engineering company in Elko."