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Spotlight on Craig Gray

November 14, 2014

By Erica Larsen and Georgina Stanley, SRF Consulting Group

As a respected public works professional and APWA-MN member, Craig Gray has devoted most of his life and career to improving communities throughout Minnesota – from the Twin Cities to the North Country. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now with the City of Bemidji, Craig’s career began in 1988 as the City of Shoreview’s assistant city engineer. In 1993, Craig became the youngest county engineer in Minnesota (Swift County) before accepting a position as the director of public works/city engineer for the City of Anoka in 1998. Finally, Craig returned to his hometown of Bemidji in 2007 where he currently serves as the public works/city engineer.

Under the guidance of longtime member Chuck Ahl, Craig joined APWA-MN back in 1988 shortly after starting at the City of Shoreview. 

“As a 25-year-old engineer, I felt it was very important to join an organization that could help me grow professionally and personally,” says Craig. “I knew APWA-MN would be a great organization that would connect me with others that had been in this field a lot longer than I had.” 

A 26-year veteran of the organization, Craig has attended numerous summer and winter conferences (he was even hypnotized at one event, although he does not quite remember) and has attended every summer golf outing since 1989. And while Craig’s involvement in APWA-MN has taught him a lot about the public works profession, his relationships are what keep him coming back year after year. 

“I don’t need the technical information and help that I needed back in 1988,” says Craig. “Now it’s just a great opportunity to connect with people I have known for 20 years.”

Times have changed a bit in Craig’s nearly three decades of public works service. 

“We are more aware of how our decisions and actions affect the environment,” says Craig. 

He also reminds us of the power of social media: “The public is more involved in our projects. We receive a lot of feedback on our projects, decisions, and maintenance practices.”

Craig also enjoys mentoring younger APWA-MN members. Perhaps Craig’s greatest piece of advice is to enjoy the ride. 

“Enjoy where you work,” says Craig. “If you don’t enjoy it, go somewhere else.”

Outside of work, Craig loves spending time with his wife of 27 years, Barb, and their two daughters: Katie (18) and Rachel (16). 

Active members of their church, Craig and Barb have delivered Lenten meals to senior citizens for the past seven years.

A big fan of high school sports, Craig serves as the treasurer of the soccer booster club (Go, Lumberjacks!) and assists in a variety of annual fundraising activities. 

In his spare time, Craig enjoys golfing, hunting, fishing, and building the family cabin near Lake Winnibigoshish. 

Craig can be reached at craig.gray@ci.bemidji.mn.us.

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