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Community Development Director Rick Bohn moves on

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After six years, the LA resident decides to pursue other interests

By Kirsten Laskey

Before Rick Bohn, the position of Community Development Department Director frequently changed. For the past six years, however, Bohn has been able to bring stability to that spot but nothing can last forever. Bohn will retire this year with his last official day being March 31.
Bohn has seen a lot accomplished during his time with Los Alamos County. A few of the  major successes, he said are the implementation of the new capital improvement project process and the decision for the municipal building. “I was glad we were finally able to make a decision and move forward,” he said.
But, “the big thing is just having stability,” Bohn said.
He is also proud about the CDD’s communication efforts. Government, Bohn said, is all about communication. By interacting with people, ideas come forth. Chance encounters, he said, can be very fruitful.
Los Alamos is the ideal setting for having interactions with the public. Bohn said he was amazed when he ran into a county councilor once in the grocery store. Not only did the councilor say hello, he said, but also the individual knew Bohn’s name.
This isn’t something Bohn has experienced in previous jobs. Before coming to Los Alamos, Bohn worked for the city of Aurora in Colorado.
What attracted him about Los Alamos, was that the community was a small town.
“I’ve always worked for big cities,” he said, “and one of the attractions of Los Alamos is it is a small city.”
Bohn said he has met a lot of interesting people in Los Alamos. He has met regularly with a group of men Sunday mornings at Ruby K’s for coffee and conversation.  Some of these associations have helped him learn new things. Bohn joked he has learned a little bit about physics during his time here.
Plus, “I’ve gathered a greater understanding of the political process,” he said.
Coming to Los Alamos was not a completely new experience. Bohn said he grew up in northern Michigan but for about 25 years,  his family would vacation here.  He remembers visiting Bandelier National Monument.
So when the opportunity appeared to work in Los Alamos,  “it seemed like an awfully good idea,” Bohn said.
When he first came into town,   Bohn said he loved the old 1940s architecture  and the scenery. “You just can’t beat the beauty of this place,” he said.
He said he was interested in town’s appearances, how they were built and from he developed an interest in business and people.
When he graduated from college, Bohn earned a degree in architecture but that he said he discovered it wasn’t the individual building that he was interested in but collection of buildings.
Now that he is moving on, Bohn said there are other interests he is considering pursuing, such as teaching.
Bohn said he has 30 years of experience and enjoys mentoring others.
His knowledge will be put to use in other areas, too. Bohn said his wife, Bette Rossen, owns an antique textile business in Santa Fe and he will be helping out with that. He joked he knows nothing about antique textiles but can offer his services as far as planning and organizing.
Bohn added he dabbled in real estate over the years and might look into that as well. He also hopes to read more of the Los Alamos Monitor.  Bohn’s and his wife’s son, Jared, lives in Denver and Bohn said he looks forward to being able to visit him, too.
Bohn and his wife will also be moving to Santa Fe. Although he is moving on, Bohn said he has really enjoyed his time in Los Alamos.
“It’s a really nice place to live,” he said. “I’m going to miss it. It’s a very safe community.”
Bohn said he has never before lived in a community where one can access hiking trails from the downtown area.
“It’s very relaxed because it’s a very secure environment,” he said.
Plus, from its Public Works  Department to the police department, Los Alamos offers services found in much larger cities, Bohn said.
While Bohn will miss the community, many of his colleagues will miss him, too.
“Although I only worked with him for a brief time, Mr. Bohn is a planning professional and has brought his talents to good use for Los Alamos. And we appreciate his services and he will be greatly missed,” Acting Administrator Randy Autio said.
So what is one piece of advice Bohn would give to the next CDD director?
“Have patience. That’s probably the hardest thing to learn. Just be patient.”