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Environmental specialist focuses on community outreach, education with groups across the city

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Katie Holzer, an environmental specialist with the city of Gresham, was selected by her peers as the 2019 Employee of the Year for her willingness to go beyond what is expected of her.Katie Holzer epitomizes the ideal of "going beyond" at the city of Gresham.

The environmental specialist took on a role of managing design and construction contracts this year that will ultimately improve the water quality in Johnson Creek. She also has recently begun leading tours for a Mt. Hood Community College class, spoken with students at a Barlow High School career fair, and taught a cohort of homeschool students about stormwater management in Gresham.

If there is a community event, you can often find Holzer making her mark.

"When we are out in the community, people come to us because they trust us," she said.

Holzer's peers at the city of Gresham recognized her efforts in 2019, naming her Gresham's Employee of the Year Thursday, Jan. 30, during an afternoon dedicated to celebrating those who went above and beyond.

"We succeed as a city because of all of you in this room," said Gresham City Manager Erik Kvarsten.

The Employee of the Year is chosen from 12 individuals selected as employee of the month throughout the year. Their peers then vote on that pool to chose the overall winner. As employee of the year, Holzer received a plaque acknowledging the honor, a check for $200 and two additional floating holidays. She also received a crown and scepter — a fun tradition that is bequeathed by the previous winner.

"I didn't expect this," Holzer said, praising her fellow employees who did amazing things this year.

But despite her humility, Holzer is no slouch. She is responsible for ensuring the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality permit requirements are met for monitoring streams and stormwater, and develops studies that help city leadership make data-informed decisions.

She provides mentorship for interns and graduate students working with the city, and organizes the popular "Wild Gresham" talks at the library.

Employees of the month

during 2019 were:

January: Jessica Snodgrass, development engineering specialist

February: Amanda Lunsford, administrative assistant with Urban Design & Planning

March: Brian Crabb, facilities maintenance technician

April: Katie Holzer, environmental specialist

May: Christine Blystone, communications graphic designer

June: Katie Cook-Popenuk, administrative assistant with the Police Department; budget analyst

July: Kevin Dahlgren, homeless services specialist

August: LaNora Pochop, permit technician with Community Development

September: Sarale Hickson, assistant development planner

October: Susan Brown, finance and accounting manager

November: Meghan Borato, program technician with Environmental Services

December: Sandy Rice, administrative analyst with Information Technology


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