Mark Gamm, his wife Joni, and daughter Kayley moved to Kasson in 1988 so Mark could take the job of managing the county landfill and transfer station and to implement the state’s new water management statute. Shortly after the family moved here, their son Aaron was born.
Mark’s role soon expanded to include the regulation of septic systems in the county. Somewhat later, Mark began managing land use and zoning in the county under the renamed Environmental Services Department.
Before working for Dodge County, Mark graduated from Mankato State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies. He then worked for the Department of Natural Resources and for Northern States Power – now Xcel Energy - before coming to Dodge County.
Mark recalls that from the beginning of his time here, the county’s Water Management Plan provided the guidance for ground and surface water projects and efforts.
He further explained that in the 30 plus years he worked for the county, the backbone of all actions by Environmental Services has been the Water Management Plan, the Comprehensive Land Use plan, and the Solid Waste Management Plan.
“Those three plans are the foundation of what we do,” he said.
These plans change as time passes and environmental changes occur, and public input is very important to this evolution, he said.
“Things are very different from what they were 30 years ago,” he said. “There’s been an evolution of people’s thoughts on how they want to see their county move forward.”
Mark is particularly proud of how the services provided to the public continued throughout the pandemic. For a brief time, services were limited and then employees stepped up and discovered ways the public could be served and both customers and employees would remain safe.
“It was a very interesting time,” he said.
Mark has no specific plans after he retires except for getting some home projects done, maybe having that extra cup of coffee, and relaxing a little more.
Two of the employees that have worked with Mark expressed their esteem for Mark’s leadership. Rita Cole, Assistant Waste Management Administrator said, “I am very happy to have had Mark as my boss for almost 14 years. Mark is very knowledgeable and fair in working with customers - he truly follows the saying, "The customer comes first". Mark has always had an open door to anyone with questions, allowed flexibility in the office and shown interest in the lives of his co-workers. I have always felt appreciated in my work under his leadership. He has dedicated 33 years to working with staff and residents of Dodge County and he will definitely be missed.”
Services Project Manager Melissa DeVetter said, “Mark has the heart of a true public servant, and he always goes above and beyond to assist Department customers and the citizens of Dodge County. I have worked with Mark for over 14 years and have appreciated his leadership, council and perspective as the Department has met different issues and challenges over the years. He always had an open door and genuinely cares about the people he works with and will be missed by all. We wish him the best of luck and hope that he enjoys his retirement!”
Mark’s most current supervisor, County Administrator Jim Elmquist, complimented Mark’s work, saying, "Mark’s a patient leader who normally tries to see the whole picture when addressing all things relative to Dodge County Environmental Services. This county has had some challenging issues the past 30-plus years and his even-keeled nature helped set the tone for how staff and the County Board addressed those matters thoughtfully. He’ll be missed.”