When the position opened up for Wayne County Engineer, it wasn’t the first time the subject was a discussion in the home of Randy Zerr.
In 2012, Zerr along with his wife Stacy, a Wayne Community School graduate, and their two children moved closer to home from Colorado. Wayne County was searching for an Engineer at this time.
“Stacy’s father reached out to me informing me of this position being open and said he could find out any information I needed to help open the doors,” said Zerr. “I told him then, it just wasn’t the right time with our kids being younger.”
“Stacy learned of the position being open again now and asked what I thought,” he continued. “I said well it’s your hometown, but let’s talk to the kids.”
Zerr and his wife discussed pros and cons amongst themselves and with their two children, twins Tanner and Morgan that are freshmen in high school. They decided the time was right and with him taking the position that is over an hour commute one way, he would stay in Corydon throughout the week before traveling home on weekends.
Zerr has settled into the Hotel Rea where he makes his home five days a week, but will be making trips home to his family during any necessary events that may come up.
“We have a rotating on-call schedule here in county, where if one of the others need to be gone, I will be available and in town at that time,” he stated. “Just in case something happens, there will always be someone on-call.”
With his first day in office on April 17, Zerr is working hard to get up to speed on all county projects, that until this time have been headed up by Assistant Engineer Dan Carpenter and Interim Engineer Gary Bishop from Appanoose County.
“I love the rural areas as I am from northwest Kansas which is very similar to southern Iowa as far as population and the agricultural aspect,” Zerr continued. “I like the pace of it and I like getting stuff done.”
“I’m okay with talking about things, but then let’s make a plan and execute it.”
Zerr will be working to be sure the county is in compliance with the state regulations to allow funding from state and federal organizations for projects. As well as making sure time sensitive dates are met for those projects.
“Gary (Bishop) and Dan (Carpenter) have been great, staying on top of things, so as I get my feet under me, I will be continuing on with those things,” Zerr said.
Before taking the position within Wayne County, he was in Commercial Site Development and was a Land Surveyor, assisting the surveying department at McClure Engineering Company in Des Moines.
Transitioning from the larger city aspect to the rural county position, Zerr is very familiar with Wayne County as he has been traveling through this area for 20 years.
“I like the smalltown atmosphere,” said Zerr. “Everybody knows everybody and while that can be bad at times, there is far more good. I see far more positives than negatives with people helping people and helping their neighbors.”
“These things represent integrity,” he continued. “To have integrity it is doing the right thing with no one watching and it isn’t for accolades, but simply just to help others out and do the right thing.”
Following his college years, Zerr worked for the City of Wichita in a private sector and has remained employed in private sectors ever since. He will now be transitioning back into a government sector which includes an understanding of the local, state and national levels for the public side of engineering.
“On the private side, you still deal with the city and state, but some of the restrictions and regulations you follow are different,” Zerr stated. “It is exciting seeing growth, like with East Penn, and I want to see as a county how we can assist with that growth.”
Zerr is bringing over 20 years experience in the Engineering field to Wayne County while is wife Stacy heads up a team of 30 people within the Waldinger Corporation in Des Moines. Stacy also is involved with the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado.
“I want all citizens in the county to know I will listen to them and while I can’t promise anything, I want to see how I or we as a county can help,” Zerr said. “I have an open door policy and don’t want anyone to be afraid to come in if they want to discuss any concerns I could possibly assist with.”