Employee Spotlight: Karin Tank

Why work in city government, specifically in Alexandria?

I was a latch-key, free range kid of the 80’s and spent my childhood in a quintessential small town with a Main Street where you could walk to everything.  I spent my days walking (& daydreaming) in and around the city (our family Hardware Store to the Bakery, Record Store, Five & Dime, Bowling Alley, Boutiques, Furniture Store, Parks, Bank, Library, Movie Theatre and the Local Pub).  In High School, I moved to a farm in the country where I grew to love rural and natural spaces.  I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time – navigating & figuring out how communities (places & people) were laid out and finding my sense of place.  Thankfully in College, I put two plus two together and found my passion could also be a career. I graduated with a degree in Local & Urban Affairs with an emphasis in City Planning.  Since then I’ve worked with and for local municipalities for over 20 years and have never looked back.

Why Alexandria Specifically? Alexandria felt like a city where I could have meaningful impact. I really believe that there is a magic about Alexandria (dynamic, innovative and growing). I was hired as the consultant planner to complete Alexandria’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan. During that that process, I grew to love the city and its staff.  In 2008, I was hired as the Assistant Planner/Administrative Aide.  Unbeknownst until my first day on the job, my position had been expanded to include Human Resources Director.  For that first year, I felt like I had grabbed on to the back bumper of a fast moving vehicle,  HR baptism by fire.  I held on by my fingertips, and eventually felt like I had my hands on the wheel. My job has been tremendously rewarding – I love what I do and our team.   I am grateful to work in a community where I can be inspired, encouraged, enthusiastic and effective.

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

Starting the summer of 2010, I was able to be a part of the Active Living Douglas County (ALDC) partnership, which launched the Complete Street visioning process for Broadway. This evolved into a massive construction project, completed in 2014.  It went well beyond infrastructure updates – replacing water, sewage and electrical lines – to include widened sidewalks, bump-outs at crosswalks, and benches, trees, plantings and bike racks.  This project brought together a wide variety of stakeholders in new ways that led to creating a better community space for all.  It is great example of how partnerships and collaboration can improve community, quality of life and leverage finite resources.  I’m at core someone who just really believes in the interconnectedness of things and this project brought it all together and created a great place that was healthy for people, good for business and really good for community.

What are your goals for this year?

I look forward to continue working alongside passionate, creative and dedicated staff to make Alexandria a Strengths-based organization, with highly engaged employees.  This means that we focus on our strengths and our goal is to create a work environment where each person has the opportunity to develop in their strengths, everyone is thriving and doing what they do BEST everyday.

What are your hobbies?

When not hustling to/from the variety of school functions, sporting events and trying to help my boys grow into fantastic young men, I enjoy time spent: running, biking, reading, flower gardening, refurbishing/painting junk (treasures), sunset watching, campfire poking, cuddling kids and critters, and musing on life from the front porch swing.

Tell us about your family and yourself.

Married to Jason, my best friend of 24 years and blessed with three *busy* boys (Aiden 16, Maeson 13, and Rylan 8).

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

P.C.O.R.I. –  Healthcare reform created a nonprofit corporation, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), to support clinical effectiveness research. This entity is funded in part by fees (referred to as “PCORI fees”) paid by certain health insurers and applicable sponsors of self-insured health plans. It is intended to help patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers make informed healthcare decisions by advancing the quality and relevance of evidence-based medicine through the synthesis and dissemination of comparative clinical effectiveness research findings.  The fee is due annually by July 31. The fee is calculated by multiplying the average number of covered lives (employees and dependents) for group health plan years ending on or before December 31 and paid to the IRS.

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

So many…Farmer’s Market, Walking/Running alongside the Esplanade Trail, Noonan’s Park, Common Grounds and Garden Bar on 6th rise to the top.

by City of Alexandria

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