Archive for Wednesday, January 14, 2004

A passion for the job

January 14, 2004

Tina Rakes likes to cook, golf, hike, fish and has an interest in holistic health. But of all of her interests, there's one that she might favor more than the others.

"I have a passion for the building trade," she said. "It's been a passion of mine since I was a kid."

Rakes turned her passion into a profession, working as a building official in western Kansas before starting a similar position in Baldwin Jan 5.

As the town's new codes enforcement supervisor, she will be responsible for building inspections, zoning, planning and property maintenance and codes.

She said she has some goals she'd like to accomplish after becoming familiarized with her job, including discovering how Baldwin wants to proceed with its growth.

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"I want to look at the direction the town would like to go, whether they want to be a bedroom community or more commercial," she said. "Those things I'm intrigued to find out."

While there are often a lot of challenges, she said, her job is a position she loves because of the chance to work with the community.

"I love public service," she said. "I really enjoy working in public service, because it's helping others. That's my personality, I like helping others."

Her public service career actually began several years ago. Before accepting the position in Baldwin, Rakes, who is certified as a building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and plans examiner, worked for the city of Dodge City for the past 16 years, first as a combination inspector, then as the chief building official.

Though she will have to become familiarized with Baldwin, she said the transition has been relatively easy.

"When I came in, even that first day, it felt just like I fit in because of the familiarity of the job," she said.

The friendliness of the city staff and the community has also helped her adjust.

"What is nice is the way the staff works together; the different departments really work well together," she said.

"And people are just really friendly here," she said. "They're not afraid to take out five to 10 minutes to sit and talk with you. It's just a nice, laid-back feeling I've gotten."

While she is looking forward to the challenge of her new job, she said she is also anxious to get settled in Baldwin with her three daughters. Rakes, who grew up in the small western Kansas town of Cimarron, said she appreciates small-town life.

"I think this is a great place and atmosphere to raise a family," she said. "So far I think it's very nice."

She said she's also anxious for her and her family to take advantage of the opportunities the Baldwin area has to offer, which weren't available in Dodge City.

"I'm looking forward to the amenities of the area," she said. "I'm excited to expose my kids to the different cultural arts around here."

After a week in her new position in Baldwin, she said she's eager to start one of her favorite aspects of her job -- working with the community.

"It's just really rewarding to be able to do that," she said.

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