Ourcata

Our People...Our Community...Ourcata

Meet some employees who help make the City of Arcata the special place it is.

Heather Schmidt

Enriching our community

Heather Schmidt is a Recreation Supervisor for the City of Arcata Recreation Division. Heather oversees many activities, including diverse city arts programming, a multi-level gymnastics program, the ever popular Redwood Day Camp, and the Leader-In-Training program, which offers teenagers an opportunity to take a lead role in city summer camps. Heather also coordinates the well attended Bowl of Beans community dinner, a fundraiser for the Arts in the Afternoon after school program. “Some people think recreation is a luxury, but it’s a necessity,” says Heather. “It makes a big difference in the lives of the families and children who work with us. It helps them learn and grow.”

Watch Heather Schmidt at work.

Keeping Arcata on the move

LeAnn Schuetzle holds two positions for the city of Arcata as a Transit Assistant and Bus Driver. As an Arcata native LeAnn enjoys giving back to her community. She says, “Both jobs give me the opportunity to act as a tour guide directing locals and visitors to their destinations around the city efficiently and safely.” LeAnn’s past experience includes driving kindergarten to eighth-grade students during her 15 year stint as a school bus driver. She now enjoys driving Humboldt State University students who make up 75 percent of the riders of the Arcata and Mad River Transit System.

LeAnn Schuetzle
 Dale Farris, Streets Maintenance Worker

Managing our streets

Dale Farris, who began his employment with the City of Arcata in 2005, is a Streets Maintenance Worker. Dale points to the wide variety of projects as a main factor for keeping his job fresh. The Arcata Bicycle Boulevard Project, a new assignment, features streets with designated bike lanes created to keep cyclists safe, reduce traffic and free up parking. His recurring projects include traffic control signs, street paving and clearing brush blocking roads, sidewalks or street signs. As a U.S. Air Force Veteran Dale acknowledges the importance of keeping morale high. “We are a small, close knit crew and the camaraderie motivates everyone to keep our production level running at 100 percent.”

Protecting our community

Leah Christian is an Evidence Technician for the Arcata Police Department, serving since 2009. Often when people visualize an evidence technician, the popular CSI actors come to mind. Although this job is not like the TV show, Leah says, “I enjoy my job because it’s never dull and presents new challenges every day.” Leah is responsible for crime scene processing and also catalogs and tracks evidence such as money, guns and drugs. She ensures proper protocol is followed while evidence is housed within the vault. Leah is a graduate of the Dispatch Academy at College of the Redwoods and also attended Sonoma State University.

APD Evidence Technician Leah Christian
 Senior Maintenance Worker Stan Shaffer

Beautifying our community

Senior Maintenance Worker Stan Shaffer has been committed to the city of Arcata for over 17 years. Keeping the Plaza clean and picking up dog poop isn’t glamorous but, “The safety of the community comes first.” To hear him speak is to know he thrives on community beautification. “The feeling I get watching a tree I planted grow or seeing a mother push her child on a swing set I built is one of a kind.” Stan’s kindness does not stop there. He grows and donates his hair to children with cancer to help them regain their self-esteem and confidence.

Watch Stan Shaffer at work.

Protecting our health and environment

Wastewater treatment is an essential aspect of keeping a community safe and healthy. Dave Couch has dedicated over 30 years to the city of Arcata as a Wastewater Operator. During his time in the lab he administers a series of tests to ensure the plant is meeting city and state regulations. Arcata's treatment plant is the city’s primary wastewater treatment facility. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary includes environmentally friendly secondary treatment ponds, while housing over 270 species of birds. “I often refer to myself as a blue collar environmentalist,” he says. “I love water and this position allows me to help people and protect the environment.”

Watch Dave Couch at work.

Dave Couch
Wendell Laagland, Foodworks Culinary Center Operator

Partnering with startup food entrepreneurs

Wendell Laagland is a jack of all trades servicing the City of Arcata’s Foodworks Culinary Center as its Operator. Incorporating his diverse background of hospitality, property management and prior experience as a business owner, Wendell acts as a liaison between the City of Arcata and our communities’ small business owners. Twenty-eight local businesses currently call Foodworks home. “If you have a dream and you want to be your own boss in the food sector,” he says, “come talk to us.” Through Foodworks, Arcata has given the community a small business incubator designed to boost the economic platform of local manufacturers.

Watch Wendell Laagland at work.