South Carolina city engineer is public works director

Sequim's new public works director, Ben Rankin of Clemson, S.C., said he was drawn to this area at first by all the opportunities for outdoor recreation.

What really sold him on the position, though, were the friendly people and the intriguing job description.

Rankin, 49, will take over the public works director position that has been filled temporarily by City Engineer Bill Bullock since 20-year city employee Jim Bay retired in April 2008.

Interim City Manager Linda Herzog announced his selection on Tuesday. Herzog is responsible for hiring department heads while the city council hires the city manager.

Rankin received his civil engineering degree from Clemson University in 1982. He

has been city engineer for the city of Clemson for the past 10 years.

He also was the director of construction and facilities maintenance in Richland County, S.C., home of the state capital of Columbia.

Rankin managed 17 simultaneous construction projects worth more than $56 million while working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1990s.

Rankin and his wife, Nancy, will move to Sequim toward the end of June.

"We thought we would come here because we're hiking and backpacking enthusiasts. We scoped out the area online and it's a place like no other.

"But what made the difference was people were so friendly and welcome and open to us," Rankin said.

He also was drawn to the job when he saw the city was seeking "positive management approach and collaborative individual and open-minded thinking," Rankin said.

"Typically, you'll be reading those ads and they describe the required technical skills, but all engineers have those.

"That's the first job ad I've seen that was looking for something different than is typical for my field. So it drew me right to it," he said.

Rankin said he and his wife already were beginning to pack up their house and get it ready to sell.

"I'm in no way, shape or form a politico but I love to get out and meet people," Rankin said.

Herzog said Rankin is such an avid outdoorsman, he arrived three days before the scheduled interview to explore the area.

"He also loves live music and he's a big Clemson University Tigers fan," she said.

In November, the council hired the executive search firm Waldron and Co. of Seattle to search for both a city manager and a public works director.

Waldron received 30 applications for the position that has been vacant since Bay retired.

The field of 18 was narrowed to seven semifinalists last month and then to the two finalists.

Now that the public works director position is filled, a representative from Waldron will discuss the city manager search with the council at its May 11 meeting.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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