Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Administrator's Farewell!!

Cliff Aichinger talking about the office site on a Staff, Board and Citizen Advisory Commission Tour this fall.

After 43 years of professional work as an environmental planner, water resources professional and administrator, I am retiring. I served the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District for 8 years as a part-time consulting administrator and almost 26 years as the District’s full-time administrator.

We all work because we have to. If we are lucky, we have a career that we enjoy and it’s not just a job. If we are really lucky we have a job where it is a joy to get up early every day and go into work. If we are extremely lucky we have a job where we are actually making a difference in the world and improving our environment and society. I have been fortunate to have had all of this through most of my 43 year career.
RWMWD Board Members in 2011, most of whom had served the District
for decades.

My time with the District has been challenging, interesting, fun and rewarding. I have been fortunate to have a terrific Board of Managers to work with over the years. The fact that the Board has been very stable and driven by policy has led to an extremely positive work environment for all the staff. We have had the ability to work on exciting and challenging projects, studies and programs. And we have made a difference in our environment and people’s lives. Many of our projects have served as demonstrations of new technologies that have been adopted by other Districts and water management organizations.

Over the past couple weeks I have been trying to organize all the files and computer records and the other staff to easily access. I have been trying to preserve my years of historical knowledge so it is available to others. This is a real challenge. All of this effort has reminded me of the past activities, the many contributors to our success, and the growth that has occurred. I may write more about these “reflections” in the coming months.

The District as an organization has grown from a one man operation to a District, with 13 full-time staff, several interns, our own office building and a $7 million budget. We now have 42 completed capital improvements that have provided flood control, water quality improvement and significant habitat improvement throughout our District.

With partners from BARR Engineering, Cliff accepts an award for the Maplewood Mall project.

I’m obviously proud of these accomplishments, but I was just the band leader and not responsible for the music. Early on in my role with the District I did it all, but in the last 15-20 years, my role was that of administering the organization and supervising staff that did all the good hands-on work. I have been proud to be able to help create the vision and inspire the innovative activities of the District.

This will not stop with my departure. I’m happy to say that we have worked hard over the past several years to prepare for this transition and I am confident that the Board, Tina and the rest of the staff are eager for this new phase in the District’s development. There are significant water management challenges in our future, but I believe the Board and the District’s young, energetic and creative professionals are up to the challenge.
I am pleased to say that the Board has selected Tina Carstens, Assistant Administrator, as my replacement. Tina has 12 years’ experience with the District and considerable leadership and management skills. I am confident she will continue the progressive activities of the District. 

Cliff, his lovely wife, and one of their two
happy dogs at Lake Isabel

I am likewise eager to move to a new phase of my life. I have a number of activities planned to fill my time and plans for several long trips. I’m looking forward to the freedom from a daily work schedule and setting my own agenda.

I encourage all our readers to remain committed to the preservation and improvement in our water resources. This is not only important work, but it is rewarding, fun and interesting.

Watch out Colorado, the Aichingers have a lot more free time.

I am grateful for the role I have been able to play and will fondly remember my years with the District.

Cliff Aichinger,
Former Administrator, 
Current full-time husband, father, and grandfather,
Part-time sportsman (golfer, tennis player, hiker, fisherman), woodworker, handyman, and traveler.

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