Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Columbia County News

New Public Works Director Soon To Be Chosen
The Interviews

Columbia County Florida (posted June 5, 2008)
By Stew Lilker


Links to Documents

The Questions

Marcel Beauchemin

Kevin Kirby

mbia County's search for a public works director to be responsible for the maintenance of 700 miles of dirt roads and 1100 miles of paved roads are nearing a conclusion after the interviews of six final candidates. County Manager Dale Williams said that he was looking to put the final decision in front of the County Commission at this week’s County Commission meeting, but no later than June 19th, “Unless something goes terribly wrong.”

During the interviews (in order of appearance) all the candidates brought their personal brand of experience and expertise to the table.

Perry Little

(The Observer arrived too late to photograph Mr. Little)

Perry Little the present deputy director of public works and a public works employee for the past twenty-eight years clearly had the heads up when it came to familiarity with the county's employees, roads and equipment operation. Mr. Little's admitted difficulty with blue prints would not seem to work in his favor, but his suggestion that the county look into the number of vehicles being driven home by county employees was a point well taken and something that the commissioners should well heed with fuel prices skyrocketing and the County Manager warning of impending budgetary woe.

There is much sentiment among factions in the county to give Mr. Little the director’s slot based on his twenty-eight years of service to the county.

Mr. Little’s salary requirement for the job is in the area of $70,000.

Marcel “Bo” Beauchemin

Bo Beauchemin_2The next candidate interviewed was Marcel “Bo” Beauchemin, from Jennings. Florida. Mr. Beauchemin came to the interview with thirty years of experience in construction, maintenance, engineering and budgeting. Between March of 2006 and January of 2008, Mr. Beauchemin was the Director of the Roads & Bridges Department, of Pickens County, S.C., population 110,000.

Between 1997 and 2006 Mr. Beauchemin was the Director, Roads & Bridges, Maintenance Garage and Mosquito Abatement departments of Berkeley County, S.C., population 145,000.

June of 1989 through April of 1996 saw Mr. Beauchemin as the Construction Project Coordinator/Manager for the Public Works Department Brevard County, Florida, population 455,000. There he coordinated the efforts of 120 personnel and coordinated the design, permitting and construction of capital projects.

Mr. Beauchemin salary requirement for the job is in the area of $65,000.

Bryan Richards

Bryan RichardsBryan Richards of Lake City, Florida was a serious candidate, whose family was in the construction business. Mr. Richards explained that he learned a lot from his father and said, “You are successful if your people are successful.” Mr. Richards explained that he was a professional Project Manager and that while he worked for Anderson Columbia he designed roads. Mr. Richards said of the position in Columbia County, “When I saw the ad, I knew I was the man for the job.”

Mr. Richards salary requirement for the job is in the area of $85,000.

Ron Barlow

Ron BarlowRon Barlow retried from the City of Gainesville Public Works Department in 2005 from the position of Project Engineer, where he was responsible for designing urban and rural roads; managed and designed public works projects; coordinated construction activities with local, state and federal agencies and utilities; developed bid and specification documents and reviewed subdivision plans. Mr. Barlow did everything an engineer does.

Mr. Barlow’s salary requirement of the job is $80,000 to $90,000.

James Sumlin

James SumlinAfter attending Pensacola Junior College in 1973, Mr. Sumlin went to work at the Navy Public Works Center in Pensacola, working his was up from a maintenance mechanic to the Facilities Services and Construction Supervisor in 1997. In 1998 Mr. Sumlin was reassigned as a maintenance mechanic as the Navy downsized and he took advantage of an early retirement that year.

Mr. Sumlin’s salary requirement is $60,000 to $70,000.

Kevin Kirby

Kevin KirbyMr. Kirby is a Lake City native, graduated from Columbia High School in 1990 and began his working career with Anderson Columbia Company in 1993 as a roadway technician earning $10 dollars an hour. Mr. Kirby has spent his whole working life with Anderson Columbia, working his way up to area manager in 2003. According to Mr. Kirby, an area manager is responsible for the entire process of roadway construction.

Mr. Kirby’s current salary is $140,000 per year.

Mr. Kirby’s salary requirement is $86,000 per year.


Bo Beauchemin_2  
Bryan Richards  
Ron Barlow  
James Sumlin  
Kevin Kirby