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New Finance Director Carwin Sees City of Sidney in Good Fiscal Shape

SIDNEY- After former City of Sidney Finance Director Lane Kizzire resigned from his position late last year to take a job in Scottsbluff, new Finance Director Kegan Carwin wasn't looking for a job, but was encouraged to apply for the position anyway. It was a good move to do so, as shortly after applying, his current job was "consolidated", which is a less painful word for "eliminated". It's always a good thing to be on the lookout for new opportunities, and as Carwin discovered, taking a proactive approach can often be the best thing in these uncertain economic times.

Carwin was born in raised in Peetz, and graduated from Peetz High School. He then went on to attend and graduate from Chadron State College, with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. After graduating, he used his education to find employment in the oil sector, then eventually moved over to Cabela's. He worked in inventory management while at Cabela's then moved into a position with Sandhills Publishing, working on local sales for the company. Later, he was offered a position in Inventory and Product Management with Camping World, and made the move to go with the national company.

"I had a remote work job, so I got to stay in the area and do most of my work via computer and video conferencing," said Carwin. By the time COVID-19 came around, he was already a veteran of the remote work routine many others had forced upon them.

Karwin had moved to Sidney in 2014 with his wife Kelsey. His wife is a fourth grade teacher in the Sidney Public School system, and the couple have two children, ages two and four.

While he was working with Camping World, the Finance Director position at the City of Sidney became available, and he was urged by a neighbor to apply for the position. Although he wasn't really in the job market, the decision to apply became fortuitous.

"Three days after I applied and we started moving forward with the process, I was informed that my position with Camping World was being "consolidated", so I guess it was a sign that I should be here," Carwin said.

Rather than having to go through the stressful process of having to secure a new position after receiving such devastating news, Carwin was already well on his way to securing his new role as Finance Director. "Sometimes, you're not really sure if a move you're contemplating is the right way to go, and then circumstances out of your control clear up the decision making process," he said with a laugh.

Carwin brings his many years of experience of inventory and project management to the position, which is a heavy task involving numbers and spreadsheets, balancing accounts and ensuring that all the various tasks and functions involved in the smooth operation of a city the size of Sidney, run smoothly, efficiently and within budget.

"Most of my positions in the past were more product and profit based, but here its more accounting based," he said. He added, "Plus, there's a big emphasis on how we grow and manage our investments."

Carwin says that the overall fiscal health of the City of Sidney is very good, and that the people managing the city have done a very good job of managing the city's debt and finances.

"We definitely overspent in many ways prior to Cabela's leaving, but that was in anticipation of future growth, and in many ways was necessary. However, relying so heavily on one major company for growth here, as was done for many years, put us in a bad position when Cabela's pulled out of Sidney," Carwin said.

However, Carwin sees a strong balance sheet and well-managed debt in the City of Sidney, and says that Sidney is well positioned to grow. "We made a lot of infrastructure upgrades, and we have a lot of areas that are just ready to be developed when the opportunity arises. With all of the upcoming economic activity we expect, we are in a great position to grow and prosper here," he said. He noted that he works closely with all the department heads of the city, and that they all stay within budget consistently. The City has been working diligently to reduce and manage debt, and he sees no major issues cropping up with Sidney's financial health on the horizon. "One of the main indicators showing that we're being responsible taking on new debt and managing existing debt is the City of Sidney's A+ credit rating. That's a really important indicator of how our finances are being managed," he said.

He noted with the way Sidney is positioned for future growth, many other city mangers and finance people in the area could only wish they had the infrastructure and development-ready areas ready to go like Sidney. Carwin sees the future as being bright for Sidney, and that the city is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will come in the future.


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