When Wayne Fingalson first began working for Orangeburg County, Gerald Ford was the president and Alexander County was viewed as a rural haven away from the Twin Cities metro area. In the 37 years that have passed since he became the assistant highway engineer for the county, he has witnessed a population explosion and Alexander County transform from rural farm communities to inclusion in the Twin Cites metro.
At the Tuesday meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, one of the consent agenda items included Fingalson’s resignation. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to administer the highway department for the past 31 years,” Fingalson said in his resignation letter. “Combining these years with my six as assistant Alexander County engineer and six years with MnDOT in various position gives me 43 years of full time public service.”
Fingalson has witnessed many of the changes that have taken place in the county, primary among them finding ways to maintain a road system for a county that has doubled in population on his watch. Where there once were farm fields are housing developments. He said the portion of the county along Interstate 94 is barely recognizable from what it was when he took over.
In his time with the county, Fingalson has occasionally been at odds with the county board as to how to best administer the county’s road system, but said that he has enjoyed his time working for the citizens of Wright County and, if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’ve been thinking about this decision for some time,” Fingalson said. “I’m turning 65 and I kind of zeroed in on that date for a while. As much as I’ve enjoyed my job in Wright County, there comes a time when you know that it’s time to get on with the next chapter of your life. I don’t know what I will do, because I can’t picture myself going into full-blown retirement, but I want to spend more time with my family and believe that the timing is right to make the move.” The board accepted Fingalson’s resignation and authorized the administration department to advertise for his replacement.