The Kenai Peninsula has a new boss for pothole patching and snow plowing.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has announced that Carl High is the new maintenance supervisor for the peninsula and Kodiak. He began work in his new capacity Wednesday.
"Our focus here, or mine anyway, is to provide good or better service with less resources," he said.
His responsibilities will include overseeing state-maintained roads, airstrips and docks, plus supervising road crews and maintenance stations. The job involves 60 employees and a $7.5 million annual budget.
High does not anticipate major changes under his administration, he said.
His first priority, he said, will be to use federal road dollars to help maintenance crews catch up on road improvements that had been postponed for lack of funding. He praised the "make it black" program, which pays for paving roads in Alaska. The program allows crews to deal with additional needs such as guardrails and to charge some of their summer construction work to the feds.
"It gives us a little breathing room," he said. "In the long run, it does help our budget, too."
High's background is mainly in construction, he said. Prior to joining DOT, his work history included projects at Prudhoe Bay, the construction of the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project and a stint as a foreman for Quality Asphalt Paving.
He has worked for DOT since 1995, when he began as a seasonal equipment operator. Two years later he became the supervisor of the Homer maintenance shop.
A resident of Homer, he has lived on the peninsula for 17 years and in Alaska for 24 years. He has a wife, Kathleen, and three daughters. The family owns and operates Flat Fun Charters and the Crestwood Manor Bed and Breakfast in Homer.
He is a member of the Alaska Public Employees Union and of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
High said he plans to work out of the Soldotna shop but will spend a lot of time on the road. He also has a cabin in Soldotna where he can stay.
High replaces George Church, who held the post for 10 years and retired effective the end of July.
"George was a class act, and he'll be a hard act to follow," High said.
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