This story was first published Feb. 18, 2021.
NEW RICHMOND - About a month ago, Erik Evenson began his duties as the new Director of the Public Works Department for the city of New Richmond.
Like the rest of us, he did purchase a ticket for the recent billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot, and like the rest of us, he came up empty. Surprisingly for an engineer, he let the machine pick his numbers.
As far as a favorite snack, he wouldn’t commit to just one, instead he deferred to, “I love trying new foods and recipes.”
When it comes to the Packers or the Vikings, he comes down on the side of the Green and Gold.
He admits to ice fishing a few times but more for the camaraderie with friends than the thrill of freezing his tip ups. And although he has never curled, he said he would be “very” interested in trying it in case anyone out there is willing to share their stones.
Evenson obtained his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota and came to New Richmond following a 14 year stint with Cedar Corporation and a six-year stint with MSA Professional Services Inc. where he worked on a wide range of municipal projects.
“If there was one area I focused a little more on and enjoyed doing, it was potable (drinking) water projects. In recent years I worked on many water systems evaluations, water system modeling and water related construction projects in addition to the general municipal work that I did,” said Evenson.
Evenson was not necessarily looking to make a change, but the opportunity with the city got his attention because he was somewhat familiar with New Richmond and knew it was a growing community “that had a lot of great things going for it.”
“I had a number of people tell me about how good the staff at the city was. After my first few weeks with the city, I can wholeheartedly agree with that. The staff with the city are great,” said Evenson.
Growing communities face multiple challenges but Evenson fingered one in particular.
“Funding. The need to be able to keep up with aging and failing infrastructure while also dealing with new development and making sure that the community is a great place to live,” said Evenson.
When he is not figuring out how to meet the Wisconsin DNR’s new phosphorus limit or holding the line against the emerald ash borer, you will likely find Evenson hiking, biking or brewing with his friends and family, wife Tamara, NDSU freshman daughter Ana and son, Simon a sophomore at Boyceville High School. Evenson has also embarked on a dedicated quest to find the best fish fry in Wisconsin. A reservation at Meister’s seems in order.
Evenson is stepping into a challenging position during a pandemic but appears to have the right attitude to succeed.
“I’m hoping that I can utilize my skills and engineering experience to continue and enhance a lot of the great things that the city already has going.”