City of Blaine officials have sifted through a total of 29 applicants and appointed a new public works director.
Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic has hired Ravyn Whitewolf, a former city of Bellingham engineering manager, as the new Blaine public works director after conducting a nationwide search starting in November. Whitewolf will start on March 12 with a $95,000 annual salary; the same amount she was making with the city of Bellingham, Tomsic said.
Tomsic said Whitewolf’s ability to connect with the public works staff she will eventually be managing impressed Tomsic the most. On February 10, Whitewolf and the three other finalists were interviewed by three separate panels, one of which was composed entirely of public works staff.
“They felt really good about her,” Tomsic said. “They said she was the candidate they would prefer to work with.”
Tomsic said Whitewolf’s experience with managing engineers and consultants will dovetail well into her role at the city of Blaine. Blaine’s public works projects deal heavily with outside consultants since the city does not directly employ many engineers.
“I feel really fortunate we were able to find someone of her talent to go to work with our organization,” Tomsic said.
Whitewolf, who lives just north of Ferndale and owns property in Birch Bay, says she’s excited to take the position at Blaine since she has always loved the city.
“There’s a special place in my heart for [the area],” she said.
Whitewolf, a registered professional civil engineer, has managed capital improvement construction projects for Bellingham for the past 10 years. Before that she worked as a design engineer for Whatcom County Public Works, but also had a hand in inspections, rights-of-way acquisition, traffic planning and flood control.
Once she starts with Blaine, Whitewolf said the biggest learning curve for her will be working with a smaller government entity. However, she’s also looking forward to working for a public works department as small as Blaine’s because it means she’ll be directly managing projects, which she said will let her tackle different challenges on a daily basis.
“There’ll never be a boring day,” Whitewolf said.
Whitewolf listed different reasons for being excited about a number of upcoming Blaine public works projects but seemed to look forward to the H Street revitalization most. This $463,000 project will improve the sidewalks up to the post office and enhance the crosswalks at Third Street in addition to other cosmetic improvements.
One of the major projects Whitewolf worked on with the city of Bellingham was the renovation of the Depot Market Square.
Whitewolf has a passion for improving downtown areas and is looking forward to being involved with the revitalization of Blaine’s.
“Blaine needs that revitalization to happen, and now is the time,” Whitewolf said.