Our People...Our Community...Ourcata

City of Arcata employees don't just work for the City government, they are part of our community. Find out who they are and what they do for us every day.

Mike Clinton, Utilities Supervisor

As a Utilities Supervisor and 26-year City employee, Mike Clinton has up-close-and-personal knowledge of hilly Arcata’s system of 16 water tanks, 11 pump stations, 7,000 water connections, 11 sewage pump stations and miles of underground piping. “Most people have no idea what’s under the asphalt,” he smiles. Arcata’s challenge now is to improve and replace this aging infrastructure to ensure reliable service. “We have very skilled and hardworking crews providing efficient water and wastewater service and I’m grateful to work with these guys,” says Mike. “Someone’s on call 24/7 in case there’s a sewer or water emergency.” 

Utilities Supervisor Mike Clinton works with the Arcata Underground Utilities Crew.

Miranda Baird, Senior Dispatcher

"When people call the police, they're generally not having a good day," says Miranda Baird, Senior Dispatcher at the Arcata Police Department. "Our job is to make things as easy as possible." Miranda fields both emergency and non-emergency calls from the public, keeps tabs of her officers' locations, and communicates with them via radio, sometimes all at once. Dispatchers can track dual conversations-one in each ear-a skill that only 3 percent of us possess. "It's important to stay calm while doing that. People are depending on you." Her reward at the end of the day? "I know I help people when it really counts."

Brian Kang, GIS Coordinator 

As Arcata’s GIS Coordinator Brian Kang does more than create stunning maps. He links geographic data to specific locations, making it possible to go online and see if your home sits in a flood zone or check out uses for which it is zoned. Brian’s map making skills helped the City garner about $16 million in grant funding to more than double its open space acreage in 18 years. True fact: Have you seen this surfer dude during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week talking about a too-close-encounter with a Great White?

Sgt. Paul Wilson, Citizen Volunteer Patrol

Paul Wilson intended to visit Arcata for just two weeks in 1961. Instead he stayed and has served the community as an Arcata Recreation employee, City Councilman, Firefighter and, for the past eight years, as a Sergeant with the Arcata Police Department’s Citizen Volunteer Patrol Program. Police Department volunteers assist in traffic control duties, handle paperwork and perform house checks. Volunteers help free up time for full time police officers to concentrate on current investigations and emergency response. Going on vacation? Trained APD volunteers like Paul can be an extra set of eyes on your home. Call 822-2428 to register!

Heidi Groszmann, Park Ranger

Heidi Groszmann has worked for the City of Arcata for nine years and is currently the Arcata Police Department’s Special Services Division Park Ranger. Heidi is in charge of patrolling and preserving the city’s parks, the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, the Aldergrove Marsh, and the Arcata Community Forest. “The forest is a major attraction for the city,” says Heidi. “People come from all over the world to see the redwoods.” What does Ranger Heidi want you to remember? “Tread lightly on the forest and clean up after yourself. It’s important to preserve the forest for future generations.”

Stan Shaffer, Senior Maintenance Worker

Senior Maintenance Worker Stan Shaffer has been committed to the City of Arcata for over 17 years. Keeping the Plaza clean and picking up dog poop isn't glamorous but, "The safety of the community comes first." To hear him speak is to know he thrives on community beautification. "The feeling I get watching a tree I planted grow or seeing a mother push her child on a swing set I built is one of a kind." Stan's kindness does not stop there. He grows and donates his hair to children with cancer to help them regain their self-esteem and confidence.

Heather Schmidt, Recreation Supervisor

Heather Schmidt is a Recreation Supervisor for the City of Arcata Recreation Division. Heather oversees many activities, including diverse city arts programming, a multi-level gymnastics program, the ever popular Redwood Day Camp, and the Leader-In-Training program, which offers teenagers an opportunity to take a lead role in city summer camps. Heather also coordinates the well attended Bowl of Beans community dinner, a fundraiser for the Arts in the Afternoon after school program. “Some people think recreation is a luxury, but it’s a necessity,” says Heather. “It makes a big difference in the lives of the families and children who work with us. It helps them learn and grow.”

Dave Couch, Wastewater Operator

Wastewater treatment is an essential aspect of keeping a community safe and healthy. Dave Couch has dedicated over 30 years to the city of Arcata as a Wastewater Operator. During his time in the lab he administers a series of tests to ensure the plant is meeting city and state regulations. Arcata's treatment plant is the city’s primary wastewater treatment facility. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary includes environmentally friendly secondary treatment ponds, while housing over 270 species of birds. “I often refer to myself as a blue collar environmentalist,” he says. “I love water and this position allows me to help people and protect the environment.”