Rachel Dietzman to Retire
Rachel Dietzman will retire June 3 after 9-1/2 years at County Public Works (five as County Engineer).
She worked in the private sector before joining Public Works, and says at that time she “thought government work would be easy. I imagined the job would give me an opportunity for research and training and learning skills such as grant writing.”
“I never imagined I would work harder than ever and the work would be more complicated and more satisfying. I have been so impressed by the caliber of the people at Public Works, their dedication to their work and their integrity. It’s been a wonderful place to work. That was the best surprise.”
During her time at Public Works, she worked to standardize their processes and procedures so there is more consistency between and within projects. And she initiated the “community liaison” component of the capital projects.
“We embed a community member in our projects. They help us with consultant selection, and design review, and help us to be open and transparent with the public.”
Dietzman graduated from the University of Minnesota in Civil Engineering. Women comprised about a third of the engineering department student body, and she says that percentage hasn’t changed significantly in the years since. She chose engineering because she liked science and math and “liked building things.”
She is the first woman to hold the County Engineer position in the county, and is now one of five (past and present) in the state’s 39 counties.
Before joining Public Works she worked for KS&M, surveyors and engineers – now Boundary Water Inc. Her experience getting that job tells something about the history of the island’s economy: she called there when she and her husband Gregg arrived in the county in September of 1988 and was told there was no work available; when she called again less than a year later she was told, “Yes! Can you start tomorrow?”
She and her husband have two children: Roald, born in 1989 after their arrival in the county; and Katherine, born in 1994. Both attended FHHS. Katherine is now graduating from Seattle University, and Roald has a mechanical engineering degree from SU and is now working in Phoenix.
What’s next? She and Gregg own the Poplar III, a boat originally built for the B.C. Police, but also used for a time by the B.C. Forest Service. So they’ll do some cruising. And they plan to travel.
By Louise Dustrude