Third city of Ramsey department head resigns

A third Ramsey department head is heading for greener pastures.

Ramsey Public Works Director Brian Olson has resigned to take a job with the city of Edina. Photo by Tammy Sakry
Ramsey Public Works Director Brian Olson has resigned to take a job with the city of Edina. Photo by Tammy Sakry

Public Workers Director Brian Olson has resigned to take a job with the city of Edina as its public works director.

“It is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” said Olson.

Olson will overseeing 50 employees in the city’s facilities, roads and the city vehicle fleet departments.

“Edina is the gem of the Twin Cities and they are staffed to succeed,” Olson said.

It will be exciting to work for Edina, which has twice the population as Ramsey, he said.

The Marshfield, Wis., native began working for Ramsey in 2000 as a city engineer.

He came to Ramsey because it was a growing city and it was doing new projects, said Olson, who previously worked for New Brighton.

Ramsey was bigger than New Brighton and offered more challenges, he said.

In his career, he is always seeking new ways to challenge himself and step outside of the box occasionally, Olson said.

Accepting the Ramsey job allowed Olson to assess and work on new infrastructure needs.

It is more exciting to build new water towers and lift stations than having to rebuild, like they were doing New Brighton, Olson said.

As an engineer, Olson said he was working on plan reviews and looked at the impact of the plans.

He worked to make sure everything was done right, Olson said.

Within a year, Olson was promoted to the city’s principal engineer.

In 2006, Olson became the city’s public works director as well as being the principal engineer.

Olson has been supervising the 22 Ramsey employees in the engineering, streets, parks, utilities and facilities divisions.

Among the things Olson considers as accomplishments during his 12 years with Ramsey are elements of The COR project and the municipal parking ramp.

As difficult as the former Ramsey Town Center project, which now The COR, has been, “I am happy with the infrastructure project we put in place, which will serve the city for many years,” Olson said.

The parking ramp received an award from the Minnesota Concrete and Masonry Association for excellence in concrete design, he said.

Olson is also proud of his departments.

The public works and engineering employees in Ramsey are phenomenal, he said.

“They are great people and have a great work ethic,” Olson said.

“They do what it takes to get the job done.”

While he is excited to start his new job in Edina, Olson said there are some things he wished he could have accomplished for the city.

He wishes he would have been able to see the public works department move out of the double wide trailer, which is used for locker rooms and office space, and into a permanent facility, Olson said.

“If we had the resources, (the city) definitely needs to get the department in a permanent and better work facility,” he said.

Although a water treatment facility will not be needed in Ramsey until 2019, Olson said he would have liked to have been around for it.

But when M&A Executive Search contacted him in February to see if he would be interested in becoming the public works director in Edina, Olson said it was an opportunity he had to take.

As he gets ready to leave Ramsey, Olson reflected on the work he has done for the city.

“Hopefully, I have improved the service to all residents,” he said.

“I always want to leave an organization in better shape than when I arrived.”

“I wish the residents of Ramsey well.”

Olson’s last day will be May 15.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]