Blecke looking forward to challenges of new position
Wes Blecke said he has "always had the city administrator's position in mind" and as of July 1 will get to move forward in that capacity for the city of Wayne.
Blecke, a 1996 graduate of Wakefield Public Schools, earned a bachelor's degree in political science and history, with minors in Public Administration and coaching from Wayne State in 2000.
"Early in my education, I planned to become a lawyer, because I wanted to be a politician, and felt that most politicians started out as lawyers. However, I felt that just being a lawyer to move on to the next step would not be fair to my clients, so I changed direction," he said.
He went on to earn a masters degree in Public Administration with concentrations in budget and financial management from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. It was during one of his classes there that a guest speaker talked about city administration and Blecke was sold on that career.
In the fall of 2002 Blecke was offered the position of city administrator at Ashland. He began his duties in January of 2003 and served the city until Dec. 1, 2005.
The early part of Blecke's career was tied to his wife's education and employment.
"Andrea was offered a job at Wayne State College with Wildcat Sports Medicine and Wayne Area Economic Development (WAED) was looking for an assistant director. I was offered that position and began by duties here on Nov. 14, 2005," Blecke said. "We were happy to move our family to Wayne and happy with what the city had to offer."
He worked with Dave Simonsen until March of 2009, when Simonsen left for another position. He then served as interim director until November of that year, when he was offered the executive director position, which he has held for the last seven and one-half years.
"I think the thing I learned most is how much labor drives the market. It dictates everything and everything comes back to economic development," Blecke said.
He said one of the most rewarding parts of his job was the development of Leadership Wayne classes.
"I will really miss the Leadership classes and hope they will continue," he said.
Another highlight of his time as Executive Director of WAED was bringing Williams Form Manufacturing to Wayne.
"From the building of the spec building in 2007, until it was sold in 2012 was stressful, but very rewarding. The size of the building went from 20,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet and this project has worked out very well," Blecke said.
In a coincidence, Blecke has been somewhat connected to outgoing City Administrator Lowell Johnson for many years.
"Lowell's wife, Cathy, was my fourth grade teacher in Wakefield. His children were the same ages as my sisters. Our families have known each other for many years," he said.
In the coming week's Blecke will transition to the city administrator position and said that he feels his biggest challenge will be the city's electric department.
"The city is in the process of determining what to do with the power plant and there will be a steep learning curve for me with the fact that the world of electricity is changing a lot," he said.
Blecke is looking forward to the challenge his new job will present and working with the city staff, many of whom he has already had a lot of contact with as part of his current position.
"The city of Wayne is in a very fiscally sound position. This is thanks to the work of City Finance Director Nancy Braden, City Administrator Lowell Johnson and the city council," he said.
Blecke's family includes his wife of 17 years, Andrea, and children Treyton, 14, Easton, 12 and Kennasyn, 9.
In his spare time, Blecke enjoys coaching baseball and basketball.