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Zimmerman marks milestone

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Longtime county employee reminisces about his career and family

By Carol A. Clark

Public Works Department Director Kyle Zimmerman is celebrating 20 years working for Los Alamos County.

Born in Albuquerque, he arrived in town 21 years ago with his wife Joella. She was five months pregnant with their first child, Michael. Their second son Paul was born three years later.

The Zimmermans live in Los Alamos with their beagle basset mix Dixie and their pit bull mix Scooter.

They home-schooled both sons through each of their high school graduations. Michael spent two years at UNM-Los Alamos before transferring to the University of New Mexico. He will enter his senior semester in political science this fall.

Paul “is a very talented musician and is going to take a year to figure out what he wants to do,” Zimmerman said. “Then he’ll probably spend two years at UNM-LA, which is a good school to get the basics.”

Zimmerman earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the UNM. He is a registered professional engineer in the civil engineering discipline and received his professional registration from the State of New Mexico in 1989.

He worked for a time in an engineering job with Merrick & Company in Los Alamos before joining the county July 19, 1990.

County Administrator Tony Mortillaro commended Zimmerman on his achievements during the last two decades.

“I want to congratulate Kyle on reaching this key 20-year milestone of association with the county and recognize him for his service to the community over this time period,” Mortillaro said.

Zimmerman said he was always good in math and science but that out of high school went to work as a hardware salesman.

“One day after five years on the job I was sweeping the concrete with a man who had been doing that for 20 years. I decided that was not going to be a lifetime endeavor for me,” he said.

Zimmerman’s father was an electrical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories so he looked into several engineering firms in Albuquerque, asking employees what they liked about the work and where jobs were available in the Southwest.

Zimmerman said he chose civil engineering because it’s a broad field.

The Public Works Department in Los Alamos County is responsible for administration, engineering and surveying, pavement, fleet and transportation, which is comprised of traffic and transit.

In the course of his work at the county, Zimmerman often collaborates with the Community Development Department.

“We’ve always found Kyle to be extremely knowledgeable in his field and very cooperative in his work with our department and is always willing to come to public hearings and give testimony on cases,” CDD Director Rick Bohn said.

Zimmerman began his county career as assistant engineer. In 1991, he was promoted to county engineer. Five years later he was given the added duties of traffic engineer and Los Alamos Airport manager.

In 2001, Zimmerman was promoted to department director and became the county’s certified flood plan manager.

In 2003 he was promoted to public works director and continues to assume the role of airport manager whenever the manager is out of town. He also is the acting county engineer until that vacancy is filled.

“A lot of changes have taken place since I began working here,” Zimmerman said. “I really enjoy working with the staff and I like the challenges of working on all the different projects. I like solving problems and with projects there are always problems.”