A wealth of knowledge
Some might view the County Commission's choice for the new director of public works as too youthful a face for the job without realizing the wealth of experience that Mike Spickelmier already has under his belt.
Spickelmier, who will head the county's second largest department when current director Bill Green retires in mid-December, will put the knowledge he has gained building roads, bridges and sewers at home and abroad for the public, private and military sectors to use.
The three-year employee of the public works department has a civil engineering degree from the University of Missouri and, prior to coming to Leavenworth, worked as a consultant for an engineering firm in Overland Park.
Spickelmier also served eight years in the Missouri National Guard as an engineer officer.
As part of that duty, he built road in Honduras, Alaska, Kuwait and, most recently, Iraq.
That's also where he befriended Green, a fellow Army engineer at the time.
"You get to know a lot about someone when you spend that much time together," Spickelmier said of his predecessor. "We learned to complement each other well."
"When Bill (Green) took the job two years ago, he told me up front he was going to retire," Spickelmier, who has become increasingly involved in the department's administration, said. "Gradually, he's given me more and more responsibility : so we're hoping it will be a seamless transition."
Spickelmier said he realizes with the new position, there will be lots of new opportunities and challenges.
"As the county continues to grow, it puts increasing demands on the infrastructure, and the challenge is meeting those demands," he said.
Although he was an "Army brat" as a kid, constantly moving from post to post, Spickelmier does have longstanding ties to the area. As a teenager, he attended Leavenworth High School for three years before graduating from a school in Fulda, Germany in 1991.
NAME: Mike Spickelmier
OCCUPATION: Newly hired Leavenworth County Director of Public Works
FAMILY: Jack, 7, son; Nathan, 5, son
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA, AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? "I moved back to Leavenworth County in 2001 : to be closer to family."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LEAVENWORTH COUNTY? "There's tremendous opportunity. It's a growing community, and it's an exciting time to be here."
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? "Ride my motorcycle. And I'm involved in Cub Scouts with my oldest son."
WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED? "I've been fortunate that I've had a lot of great mentors to this point. My first boss was really good about teaching me to pay attention to details : 'cause that's where you get tripped up.'"
WHAT CLUBS OR ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU BELONG TO? Lansing Cub Scout Pack 3165 (Den Leader), Tonganoxie VFW Post #9271, Society of American Military Engineers, Kansas County Highway Association