County engineer takes top state honor
BEST IN THE STATE: Klickitat County Public Works Director Gordon Kelsey (left) accepts his award last week as WSACE County Engineer of the Year from Jay Webber of the County Road Administration Board.
“I think every board in the state believes they have the best county engineer in the state, and they all have reasons for believing that,” said Jay Webber, from the Washington State Association of County Engineers (WSACE), in a ceremony at the Klickitat County Public Works Department last Tuesday. Webber then went on to explain why Klickitat County’s Gordon Kelsey was chosen as the best in the state this year.
“It is a joy to leave Olympia to cross those mountains to come to Klickitat County,” Webber said, “and to honor a man who could have won this award in Klickitat County or any other county or any state. The body of work shows that he is flexible and he is that committed to public service at the local level, which I believe, quite frankly, is the most important level that there is.
“He has raised the bar for the standard achievement of public service,” Webber continued in his remarks about Kelsey.
The award is presented annually to a county engineer who demonstrates excellence and achievement in five different categories: management skills, public relations, engineering expertise, community activities, and WSACE committee activity. Kelsey was cited for accomplishment in all categories and for doing so in a relatively short time; Kelsey took over the department in 2008.
Klickitat County Commissioners Ray Thayer, David Sauter, and Rex Johnston were among the congratulatory speakers at the ceremony, also attended by Public Works employees and Kelsey’s family.
“I know that I didn’t do this on my own,” Kelsey said in accepting the award. “I’m just one piece in this Public Works Department that made this all work, and really I got the award but it our award. It is because of all the hard work that everybody has done.”
Kelsey said the award also means the department is doing something right. “I know that we can do a lot more than we think we can sometimes,” he said, speaking to his department. “You have always risen to that, and I appreciate that. I have an awesome crew and an awesome board, and they support us, and I tell of all the good things you guys are doing. I just appreciate everybody that has helped get us here.”