Chapman settles into new job as head of city utilities

Thursday, February 7, 2002

Chapman, the new director of utilities for the City of Alta, is ready to help the fledgling municipal company grow even more in the future, as he wants to provide a top-notch service at affordable prices for customers living in the town of 1,820.

The successor to Jim Gibney, who took a position in Wahoo, Neb., last month, Chapman comes to Alta from Paullina, where he was the City Clerk and Administrator for three years.

However, he also worked for over 20 years in the Paullina utilities department, and that knowledge of the utilities business was one of the main reasons he decided to accept the position in Alta.

"I thought this would be a great place to live and work, and I was excited about the opportunity to get back into the utilties side of things," Chapman said. "Virtually my whole background is with utilities, and when this opportunity opened up I thought it would be great, especially with the telecommunications angle. The fact that the city has its own telecom division is big, because Alta is really out on the cutting edge of things as far as the field of telecommunications are con- cerned."

Chapman, 48, graduated from Jackson Vocational Technical School, and then worked for more than four years in Lake Park, Iowa, before moving to take a position as a lineman for the City of Paullina.

After six months, Chapman was tabbed to become the superintendent of utilities for the town, and held that position for more than 20 years before taking over the City Clerk position in 1999.

Married with two daughters and several grandchildren, Chapman said the move to Alta was also appealing because of the intimate nature of the town.

"I love small towns," Chapman said. "I'm a people person, and I want to get to know as many people as I can, and small towns are the best places to do that. I'm really excited to be here and be able to start knowing the people around town and people who come into my office everyday."

Much of Chapman's time will be spent inside with paperwork and supervisory duties, but he said he will not hesitate to help outside with any duties that his staff will have to handle in the future.

"After working outside for a number of years I'm not uncomfortable at all with the idea of going outside and helping with anything that might come up," Chapman said. "None of us wants to get wet, and none of us wants to get cold, but in this business that's part of the job, and if they need me outside, I'll be down in the ditch or along the street to help out."

One of Chapman's biggest goals is to review the entire company and initiate ways to improve Altatec's efficiency for customers in the future, especially with the internet, cable television and telephone services that the city utility business provides in addition to the electrical and water needs of the town.

He also said he wants to reach out to the people of Alta and make the city's utilities department one of the best in the entire state.

"We want to be the friendliest office in Iowa, and that's a goal I truly believe we can reach," Chapman said. "I think 99.9 percent of people are good people, and if you treat them fairly they'll do the same for you in return.

"I've always lived by that, and that's something that we're going to live by every day of the year to serve the people of Alta as best we can."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: