County Commission appoints new Public Works Director

County Commission appoints new Public Works Director

County Commission appoints new Public Works Director

The Humboldt County Commission approved the appointment of Don Kalkoske as the new Public Works Director for Humboldt County. The Commission approved the appointment at the July 8 meeting.

The recommendation came by a designated selection committee including two County Commissioners, senior management and a Humboldt County citizen. Kalkoske was chosen from eight candidates after a two-month search during which the position remained vacant. Kalkoske replaces the former Public Works Director Ben Garrett who retired earlier this year.

County Manager Dave Mendiola had good word to say about the department and the workers’ commitment to going beyond job descriptions and titles during the two-month search. “I think,” Mendiola said, “what it proves is that we do have a great crew … and they know what they're doing … [They were] given the opportunity to step up every day and do what they needed to do [and] they just do it.”

Mendiola told the Commissioners the selection committee interviewed four candidates who were outstanding applicants. He said many had exceptional experience. “But what came down for us, Don's a local guy; [he’s] been living in Winnemucca for a long time. His wife's family is from this area.”  Mendiola went on to say that the Road Department has worked with Kalkoske and the 

Nevada Department of Transportation NDOT). “All the reports from his co-workers came back as just a tremendous individual who not only knows his stuff but is great to work with and work for,” Mendiola said.

The Humboldt County Public Works Department consists of a Roads Division and a Utilities Division. The Roads Division maintains the transportation and drainage infrastructure within the unincorporated portion of Humboldt County. The infrastructure “includes roughly 1,000  miles of paved and gravel roads, as well as an extensive network of storm water draining ditches.” The Department is also responsible for snow plowing, street sweeping and weed abatement. 

The Utilities Division oversees the treatment, delivery and availability of drinking water for rural communities outside the City of Winnemucca. 

As the Head of the Department, Kalkoske will be responsible for “Roads, Bridges, Solid Waste Management (Regional Landfill), Water Sources, Gravel Sources, Equipment Fleet Maintenance Shop and Maintenance, Water Distribution and Treatment, Waste Water Treatment, Parks, Denio Airport, and other public works services for Humboldt County.”

Kalkoske thanked the Commissioners and told them he will “jump in with both feet.”

Commissioner Marlene Brissenden, who was member of the selection committee said the other candidates had experience working with large public works department which isn’t the case with Humboldt County nor were the other applicants familiar enough with the local conditions. She said Don “fit the bill for Humboldt County.  … It was a no-brainer” to hire Kalkoske.

Kalkoske currently works for NDOT as Assistant Resident Engineer. He has worked for the agency for 22 years. He starts his new position July 22.