The longtime engineer for the city of West Fargo is now the president of the firm that has served as the city's engineer department for 55 years.
Kevin Bucholz was named president of Moore Engineering on July 1. Jeffry Volk, the former president and CEO, will continue to serve as CEO.
Smaller cities often contract with private firms such as Moore for engineering services, but as West Fargo has grown, residents have asked if it is time for the city to staff its own department, as Fargo does.
"I've told [the city] many times over the years they should transition," Bucholz said. "I personally advocated to the city, they should have looked at this years ago.
Moore Engineering was founded in 1960 and has served as West Fargo's city engineer since 1963. The partnership has proved successful over the years, as Volk, who was lead engineer on the project, helped usher in the Sheyenne Diversion to West Fargo in 1992.
"As the city grows, its needs, its growth and how it does things needs to be evaluated. During all this growth, it was easier just to have us handling these things. It's time for the city to take on some of these responsibilities, the expectations of the citizens."
However, while the city pays Moore Engineering for engineering services, it does not have to cut or add staff as budgets and the city grow or decline, Volk said.
"We're proud of what we do in the community and provide great service," Volk said. "It's important for us to continue on."
Conversations about continued growth between Moore and city officials have been ongoing.
"Doing what is best for the city of West Fargo is what the objective is," Bucholz said.
Originally from rural Mahnomen, Minn., Bucholz holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from North Dakota State University. He began working at Moore in 1987.
Under Bucholz's leadership as city engineer from 1992 to 2016, he helped oversee the completion of the first phase of the Eagle Run Development, which was the first major residential and commercial development south of Interstate 94.
"The growth south of Interstate 94 has been beyond anyone's expectations," Bucholz said. "We've had challenges and struggles, but overall I'd say that has grown to be an amazing part of the city. We were also always cognizant of maintaining the services in the old part of the city and not letting that deteriorate."
He also worked on the Sheyenne Street and Ninth Street reconstruction projects.
While he may have been an employee of Moore, as a resident of West Fargo, his position followed him home.
"I always put the city first before I put Moore Engineering first, because if you ask me what I'm most proud of, it's the city," Bucholz said. "I've lived in the community, raised my family in the community. I'm always getting asked and answering questions about the work. I am proud we did make it a better place as a collective role. It was more than just a job, because I personally lived in the community and it impacts my life. "
While city engineer, Bucholz mentored Dustin Scott, who now serves as city engineer for West Fargo.
"I'm proud to have the privilege to have been mentored by a guy like Kevin Bucholz," Scott said. Along with West Fargo, Moore currently serves more than 140 towns in North Dakota and Minnesota and has more than 160 employees. For the past two years, Bucholz served as Minnesota regional manager, where he supervised the opening of a St. Cloud office.
While Volk will no longer serve a dual role, it doesn't mean that Volk will be slowing down or retiring anytime soon. As CEO, Volk plans to focus on Moore Engineering's continued growth, which could mean adding more clients or services.
"Growth can come in many ways. We've talked about as a company if we shouldn't try to offer more services. We've got our niche about what we do really well," Volk said. "Geographically we do what we do very well, both near and further from us. My energy will now be focused on more looking for new growth opportunities, trying to identify new strategic alliances with other companies to allow Moore Engineering to grow."
Naming Bucholz as president seemed like a natural progression, he said.
"You build new leadership and pass on those leadership responsibilities. Now feels like the right time to do that," Volk said. "I've watched Kevin through his whole career. Over time he's demonstrated he understands how to deliver the engineering product, how to work with clients and manage staff. It wasn't a real difficult decision to ask him to step into that role."