Garry Ladwig to retire after 40 years of service

By Stephanie Sauder, Bryant Dakotan editor; reprinted with permission

Over the last 40 years, there have been a lot of changes in the town of Bryant, SD: four changes of Main Street lighting, three changes of water and electrical meter systems and three changes in electrical systems. Mayorship has changed seven times and council members and city finance officers have come and gone as well.

The latest change – the first since 1988 – is the retirement of the city’s superintendent, Garry Ladwig. Garry will retire after serving as the head of maintenance for a total of 40 years, first working in the department from October of 1980 to 1985, then returning in 1988 until his retirement at the end of this month.

A Bryant native, Garry joined the Marines after high school graduation where he was a bomb, rocket and missile troubleshooter. He feels this troubleshooting experience was excellent training for his position as city maintenance. Over the last 40 years, Garry’s responsibilities have included maintaining the park and other city property, plowing snow, and taking care of the electrical and water systems.

Garry also reads the meters every month; until recently, as meters are now read remotely, he walked from house to house, recording each reading. According to his calculations, he’s walked the equivalent of the distance from Miami to Seattle.

He’s also attended about 450 council meetings. Only ten Bryant citizens who were here when he started still reside in Bryant.

Over the years, Garry occasionally had an assistant or part-time help in his department, but for most of his time as the town’s caretaker, he’s done most of the work by himself.

One of his most vivid memories was the time he was attending to a power outage at the assisted living during a thunderstorm and lightning hit the cross on top of the St. Mary Catholic Church across the road. Garry credits God for saving the church and Garry as well.

The variety of challenges each day made the job interesting, but he really enjoyed visiting with the public, the vast majority of the residents being very supportive of him and his job. The downside was probably being on call 24/7.

Garry will officially retire the end of March. Until then, he is helping the newly hired superintendent, Ryan Sikkink, transition into the position. Sikkink is from Castlewood and for the last 13 years, worked at Terex Utilities.

The Bryant city council has hired Ryan Sikkink (left) to fill the position of city superintendent when Garry Ladwig (right), who has held the position for 40 years, retires at the end of the month. Photo courtesy Bryant Dakotan.

Like his predecessor, Ryan looks forward to the diversity and challenges each day will bring in this job and enjoys doing this kind of work. He knows he has a lot to learn but looks forward to it and appreciates Garry’s guidance this first month on the job. (If the Sikkink name is familiar, Ryan’s wife Kristie is Bryant’s chief finance officer.)

Garry is undecided about his future plans but, like he has for the last 40 years, he looks forward to what each day will bring.

Thank you, Garry, for your dedication to the town of Bryant over the past four decades and congratulations on your retirement. You’ve certainly earned it.

New finance officer a familiar face to many

Contributed story/photo. By Sarah Ebeling, Editor, The New Era Newspaper

Jans now in second month of new position

With almost two and a half years experience on the job as the deputy finance officer, Adam Jans seemed like the perfect fit as Parker’s new finance officer.
Jans began his new position the first of the year, taking over the reins from Jeanne Duchscher who retired the end of December.

Jans said that before working for the city, he had been a sales manager for Dakotaland Homes in Sioux Falls. But, Jans said, numbers and finances have always been “his thing.”

“I have always been a numbers person and always liked working with numbers. I have always wanted to be a loan officer or a finance officer,” said Jans.

But when the opportunity arose to work for the city, Jans took it. He said part of his influence was knowing that his grandpa had been the Parker School’s business manager years ago and his great uncle had been the city’s finance officer decades ago.

“And I have always wanted to be in this line of work,” said Jans.

Jans has been a lifelong Parker resident, along with his parents Renee and dad Darrel (Goose), who recently passed away. Jans now lives with his fiancee and two daughters in town and said he is loves being in Parker and loves his job.

“But, the hardest part is that I know the majority of everybody in town, so when you have a disgruntled citizen, doing my job makes it hard when you know everyone in the city,” he said.

“And when I have to do one of the challenging parts of my job, such as shutting off utilities or fielding phone calls because of parking tickets, I want people to know that it is nothing personal between myself and the citizen, I am simply doing my job,” Jans continued.

The best part of his job comes back to Jans’ love of numbers.

“Bank reconciliation. I want to see how much more money the city has at the end of this month compared to the end of last month and balance to the penny,” said Jans with a laugh.

“My other favorite part is visiting with the residents of the city,” he said.

Besides the day to day activities that Jans deals with at work, he also oversees every aspect of the city including employees, day to day finances, city improvements and so much more. The city has approximately 1020 residents, mails out 588 utility bills every month.

Jans said that anyone that has any questions or issues with anything concerning the city is encouraged to stop by or call the city office and let their concerns be heard said Jans.