The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Ten Questions with Brad Rowan Chief Building Official, City of Sidney

 

Dave Faries

For someone with a couple of decades as a building contractor under his tool belt, Brad Rowan has an impressive resume. He has worked on skyscrapers in San Francisco and enforced code in a number of small towns. He oversaw construction on projects in five different countries. Before taking the position as Sidney's Chief Building Official, he directed work on a housing project at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. But Rowan is a small town Nebraskan at heart, born in Falls City. 1. So is it 'Roh-an' or 'Rahw-an'? Roh-an. You don't rahw down the river, you row down the river. 2. How do you describe your job? It's a long story. One minute you're dealing with a neighbor's fence, the next you're talking to architects and engineers about a $60 million project--and everything in between. 3. So it's unique. Oh, definitely. I've been in construction for 40 years. I started digging ditches. Now I'm a certified building official--internationally certified. I've done this in 30 states and five countries. 4. How do you plan your day? My routine changes momentarily. I didn't get to have lunch yesterday, but that's not unusual. I'm a public servant. I like the hands on approach. 5. Hands on? If someone is tearing out a wall to widen a door I'll help determine if it's a load bearing wall. It's easier if I can tell them how to do it than to fix it later. 6. Is Sidney more of a challenge that the other places? No. I've started in a lot of small communities where they had no codes and all of a sudden the city puts them in place and enforces them. It's not the most popular job. 7. What was the toughest situation? Working for the military, building military housing. There's a lot of red tape from concept to completion. It can take three years just to get started. I reviewed the paperwork for the new hospital here just last year. [Construction begins next month]. 8. How will Sidney look in five years? It should have 900 new homes, a new hospital and Cabela's will have completed three buildings. 9. You've been doing this a long time. Is there anything else you would do? To pay off my education I had to be a chef in Falls City. I've dabbled in catering. 10. What's your favorite food? Probably steak. You might say I'm out of shape, but round is a shape.

For someone with a couple of decades as a building contractor under his tool belt, Brad Rowan has an impressive resume. He has worked on skyscrapers in San Francisco and enforced code in a number of small towns. He oversaw construction on projects in five different countries. Before taking the position as Sidney's Chief Building Official, he directed work on a housing project at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. But Rowan is a small town Nebraskan at heart, born in Falls City.

1. So is it 'Roh-an' or 'Rahw-an'?

Roh-an. You don't rahw down the river, you row down the river.

2. How do you describe your job?

It's a long story. One minute you're dealing with a neighbor's fence, the next you're talking to architects and engineers about a $60 million project--and everything in between.

3. So it's unique.

Oh, definitely. I've been in construction for 40 years. I started digging ditches. Now I'm a certified building official--internationally certified. I've done this in 30 states and five countries.

4. How do you plan your day?

My routine changes momentarily. I didn't get to have lunch yesterday, but that's not unusual. I'm a public servant. I like the hands on approach.

5. Hands on?

If someone is tearing out a wall to widen a door I'll help determine if it's a load bearing wall. It's easier if I can tell them how to do it than to fix it later.

6. Is Sidney more of a challenge that the other places?

No. I've started in a lot of small communities where they had no codes and all of a sudden the city puts them in place and enforces them. It's not the most popular job.

7. What was the toughest situation?

Working for the military, building military housing. There's a lot of red tape from concept to completion. It can take three years just to get started. I reviewed the paperwork for the new hospital here just last year. [Construction begins next month].

8. How will Sidney look in five years?

It should have 900 new homes, a new hospital and Cabela's will have completed three buildings.

9. You've been doing this a long time. Is there anything else you would do?

To pay off my education I had to be a chef in Falls City. I've dabbled in catering.

10. What's your favorite food?

Probably steak. You might say I'm out of shape, but round is a shape.

 

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