New Brookings City Manager returns to home state

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

Alan Lanning was selected as the new city manager of Brookings by the City Council on Jan. 13. Lanning is now serving as city manager of Minturn, Colo., but is a South Dakota native and will return to his home state in a little over a month.

Where are you from originally?

Elk Point, S.D. I did my undergraduate work at SDSU. I also received teaching credentials from SDSU, and I got my master’s degree from USD.

Do you have a family?

Yes. I have a wife and four kids. My wife is Sharol, and my boys are Tyler, 15, Jay, 9, and Matthew, 6, and my daughter Karly is 3.

When do you start as city manager of Brookings?

April 1.

What made the job appealing to you?

Well, I think in this business you’re always kind of looking for a good fit. We live right next door to Vail right now, and it’s very expensive to live here. Most of us live in employee housing that the towns provide for a lot of us to promote the community. I wanted to move up professionally to a bigger place and obviously make more money, and professionally to provide some new challenges, always trying to get a right fit. And that can be a combination of a lot of things. In this case it was a town that I knew and a size that I felt that I could do. The salary was a step up for me, but during and after the interview process, I was very comfortable with the Council and the direction they were moving.

So was it more than the job that made you consider coming back to Brookings?

Oh, yeah. There’s always kind of a package. You don’t go just for the council, and you don’t go just for the job, but to me it’s an effort in making sure all the pieces fit together. In this case, they did.

What are you looking forward to the most when you move to Brookings and begin your new job?

I think I’m looking forward most to, first of all, getting to know everyone. Then I look forward to just digging in and starting to help the Council and the staff move forward and make improvements. I like to get things done and make things happen, so that’s a real challenge that I look forward to.

Do you have any specific goals in mind?

I think professionally my goal is to make the place better than it is, and how that works out is you have to be determined. I don’t go into it thinking I am going to do anything just spectacular, but it’s a more methodical and reasoned approach to city administration and helping an organization improve.

You said you got your teaching credentials at SDSU. Did you ever go into education?

I just student taught with Wayne Hauschild out at Brookings High School.

What made you chose public administration over teaching?

I always had an interest in government. I can still remember when John Kennedy was assassinated. And I can remember McCarthy and McGovern and Bobby Kennedy and all of those people. I always had an interest in those folks, so I always had an interest in government. After I was done with my student teaching, I wanted to try something a little different. So at the time I thought I would like to get into government, and I went down to USD to get my master’s degree in public administration because that’s where I thought I would like to head.

I’ve been in three levels of government, and I like city government the best because in my mind it produces the most immediate results.

Since you went to SDSU for your undergraduate work and USD for your graduate work, where do your loyalties lie? Do you cheer for the Jacks, or do you cheer for the Coyotes?

I bleed blue.