Written by Lance Leonhard
In late December, as 2017 was coming to an end, Marathon County Department Heads came together to select the employee that best exemplified the County’s Core Values:
- Shared Purpose
- Stewardship of Resources
2017 was a big year in Marathon County, and our Department Heads ended the year with a big announcement…
Rather than naming 1 Quarterly Core Value winner, they selected 4!
Each of the winners — Paula Langenhahn, Mary Solheim, Kodie Kocher, and Matt Nimz — were recognized by the Marathon County Board of Supervisors in January 2018.
Paula Langenhahn – She Defines “Service”
If you go to the Marathon County Public Library (MCPL) and ask to look up “service” in a dictionary, you might just find a picture of Paula Langenhahn.
When patrons come into the library, Paula goes out of her way to make their visit special. She greets everyone with a smile, learns their name and learns their interests — truly taking the time to get to know them. Paula’s devotion to service is particularly important for our HomeBound Program patrons, who are unable to visit the library due to age, illness, or disability.
If you ask anyone at the library about Paula, chances are that you’ll get a smile and some of most sincere praise for a co-worker you’ve ever heard. Here are just a few things her colleagues said about her:
“As her manager, Paula makes my job easier. Her rapport with our patrons means more satisfied customers, and her willingness to help out at other branches means a lot less scrambling for coverage.” — Leah Giordano, MCPL Library Services Manager
“Paula always says hello to people and asks how they are doing. She makes people feel welcome and appreciated.” — Taylor Weinfurter, MCPL Children’s Librarian
“She’s an asset to the library in that she is a multi-position player. It’s so nice that she is good at and enjoys covering story time when needed. The kids love her and we really appreciate it!” — Sharyn Heili, MPCL Children’s Librarian
“Even though Paula [works at the main library], she is invaluable to our [outlying] branches. She has covered shifts at multiple locations on numerous occasions, often helping out at the last minute. She’s also really helpful when talking to our branch patrons about HomeBound and helping less mobile community members get access to our resources.” — Laura Wood, MCPL Branch Team Lead Librarian
Mary Solheim — A New Employee Shines!
Mary began working for the Office of Corporation Counsel in 2016, and she immediately established herself as one of our best and brightest. She has sought out opportunities to build relationships with those in other departments, striving to learn as much as she can about their needs, so that she can provide the best legal service possible.
Above all, Mary is the epitome of “a team player.” She handles cases involving our community’s most vulnerable — children that are victims of abuse or neglect, working closely with the Department of Social Services and law enforcement.
Mary’s approach: Build a strong team, and positive results will follow.
She’s worked to educate new social workers, law enforcement, and others within the office to better understand the legal rules in complex and emotionally trying cases.
Recently, Mary has applied that same team-building focus to cases that she took on for our Child Support Agency. She jumped in, familiarizing herself with a large number of ongoing cases and working with the Child Support Agency to ensure that it receives the legal support it needs, as we continue to recruit to fill a vacant position in her office.
Kodie Kocher & Matt Nimz — Supporting the Highway Department from Behind the Scenes
Whether it’s the dead of winter, the heart of summer, or any season in between, the Marathon County Highway Department is doing all it can to keep you safe on our roadways.
You see, our staff drives plows during the fiercest of snowstorms and repairs county roads during our hottest of heatwaves. But, we don’t often see the people who keep our Highway workers on the road — our mechanics.
In addition to our team of dayshift mechanics, each evening we rely on our night shift mechanics to keep our teams on the road.
In 2017, that nightshift crew got a bit of an overhaul, as we hired two new mechanics. Kodie Kocher and Matt Nimz came in with limited experience in fleet service and the wide array of equipment at the Highway Department, but the two approached the challenge as an opportunity to learn and ultimately improve our operations.
Kodie and Matt have taken communication between the day and night shifts to the next level, improving workflow planning, inventory management, and equipment repair. Their focus on communication has strengthened our team and improved the culture within the Highway Department.
As we venture into 2018, we look forward to the opportunity to bring you more inspiring stories about our county-level staff and their dedicated work.
Marathon County Deputy Administrator
Lance Leonhard began his career in Marathon County government in the Office of Corporation Counsel and currently serves as the Marathon County Deputy Administrator. Lance’s career in public service has spanned more than a decade, having worked for the federal government as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the state of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Lance spending time with his family, traveling, teeing off on a local golf course, or sitting around a campfire with friends. Email Lance Leonhard.
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