Employee Spotlight: Brenda Johnson

Why work in city government, specifically in Alexandria?

Having grown up in the Alexandria area and graduating from both Jefferson Senior High and Alexandria Technical & Community College (many years ago) and trying the whole working and living in the Minneapolis area, it was refreshing to come back home to my roots again. It’s a plus knowing the community and surrounding area; especially with my work in building, planning, and zoning and makes it easier assisting the public. It’s been amazing to watch the growth and expansion of the City over the years.  There is stability in working for a government entity and it’s always fun being in the know of what’s coming down the pipeline.

Share a memory of a time you felt proud to be in local government.

Anytime I can help someone and hear a “thank you” it makes my day! There are so many rules and regulations that the public is not aware of and helping them through the maze and hearing their appreciation is a plus. I recently explained property taxes to an elderly homeowner who had just lost her husband. She was very confused as to when she had to pay her property taxes and who she had to pay them too. I proceeded to write down some bullets for her to follow and told her to go home and mark it on her calendar so it would remind her come May and October. She started to cry and said she really appreciated me taking the time to help her. That’s what it’s all about!!

What are your goals for this year?

With two weddings last year two weeks apart, it was all about my kids. This year it’s all about me!!! I’m trying to live a healthier life and have committed to at least 10,000 steps per day on my Fitbit. Rick and I are trying to eat better and make sure we partake in the local Farmer’s Market every year. We both love to be outside as much as we can. We have a few projects at home we want to tackle this year; and one includes insulating and finishing off the inside of his new shed. We want to spend more time with family and friends which means more bonfires, more time with our children, more time with our grandbabies, and more road trips. Our goal is to visit every state and we are diligently working on that goal.

What are your hobbies?

Rick and I love to hit the road and will spontaneously take off. We just bought a new motorcycle so are looking forward to some time on the road. We also love garage sales, auctions, and flea markets and looking for that diamond in the rough. I’ve been trying to do more with natural grasses and vegetation in our rock gardens this year. We also love spending time with family and friends and can never get enough grandbaby time.

Tell us about your family and yourself.

I grew up in Alexandria and have lived here for most of my life. It’s funny how I; along with my three siblings all moved away…..and now we’re all back again! My dad Carl worked for Anderson Furniture for over 30 years. My mom Geneva lives at Grand Arbor. Rick and I actually met through a mutual friend who worked with us at Douglas Machine and he set us up on a date. We got married 18 years ago and blended our families. We often dubbed ourselves the modern day Brady Bunch (minus the Alice). Rick just started his 32nd year with LGC (Douglas Scientific). He has three daughters: Richelle (30), Kelsi (28), and Kristen (26). I have a son Cory (27). We added to the family last year with Cory’s marriage to Adara on September 23rd and Kelsi’s marriage to Jacob on October 7th. We have two grandsons: Vance (9) and his little brother Liam (4). We will be grandparents again in August when our new granddaughter joins the family.

What are you goals this year and for your department?

With the implementation of ePermits and our new LOGIS building permit software, we’ve been busy. I would love to take time to go through drawers of files and paperwork and get organized; but every day is busy and you never know what will come your way. I also have the new BS&A financial software implementation in the next month or so and that will be another learning curve. We’re also gearing up for another election this year and will be participating in trainings prior to the primary and general election.

There are a lot of acronyms in government, explain ones that come behind your name or that you use in your work.

Nothing that I can think of.

Where is your favorite place to go to enjoy Alexandria?  (restaurants, parks, activities/exercising, etc.)

Rick and I love to explore the little antique stores in the Alexandria area. We try to go out to eat at least once a week (because hey, who wants to cook).  We are also excited for the Red Willow Arts Coalition concerts to start again on the courthouse lawn. We’ve got some great local talent who plays at these concerts and it’s a fun place to visit with friends and family.

Photo by licia marie photography (www.liciamariephotography.com)

by City of Alexandria

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