Being the new Los Alamos County Public Works Director is a homecoming for Anne Laurent.
Before officially stepping into the position Nov. 4, Laurent worked for seven years as one of the County administrators. She was the Community Economic director as well as Capital Projects and Facilities director. She left to work as the Community Development director in Park City, Utah for four years.
Laurent said she decided to return to Los Alamos after there was a change in leadership in Park City. The city got a new mayor who had a new vision and Laurent said her job changed.
Plus, she was interested in returning to Los Alamos because “I wanted to make a difference.”
Laurent takes over the position from Philo Shelton, who is now manager of the Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities.
“Everyone has been so welcoming,” Laurent said. “It really feels like a homecoming.”
The Public Works Department has a lot of work to do and Laurent said she is excited to see economic opportunities take fruition. She pointed out the when she previously worked for Los Alamos County, it did its first round of capital improvement projects, which included the Pajarito Cliff Site and the Municipal Building. Then, there was the second round, which involved the White Rock Senior Center, White Rock Branch Library, Teen Center and Los Alamos Nature Center.
The County went through some tight years with its budget but Laurent said she feels that is changing and she is excited to see capital improvement projects such as the splash pad and kiddie pool get underway.
She added that right now there is a big focus on housing in the County but looking into the future Laurent said she hopes to integrate housing with smart transportation, which could be walking, riding or car-pooling, into long-range plans.
As far as her own goals as Public Works director, Laurent said they are still under development. She said she is reviewing the council’s goals. However, Laurent said she hopes to integrate sustainability into new construction as well as sustainable practices. Plus, she said the needs of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Los Alamos Public Schools cannot be ignored.
Her job is somewhat similar to her previous positions, but Laurent said she is now taking on more of the operational side of things such as streets and traffic as well as maintenance and the Environmental Services Division.
It is a larger department, she said.
She said she feels optimistic that a lot of things can be accomplished; she pointed out that Los Alamos is filled with very passionate people.
“We can do anything we set our minds to,” Laurent said, adding that she is up to the task.
“It fits me,” Laurent said. “I like to be thoughtful. I like to be a team player.”
Laurent said Los Alamos has changed a bit since she left. She said she is pleased to see new businesses and “it’s nice to see so much building going on.”
To see the community embrace facilities such as the White Rock Branch Library, Teen Center and Nature Center, which Laurent helped usher into the County “is extremely rewarding … I feel a lot of pride,” she said.
She added that although there are some changes, Los Alamos still feels like home. Laurent pointed out her children started kindergarten and went all the way through middle school in Los Alamos before they moved, so she has a lot of stories about this County.
Now that Laurent has returned to Los Alamos, she said, “I’m really looking forward to telling new stories.”
Laurent said that she and her family love the outdoors – whether it is hiking or skiing, adding that they also hope to do some traveling.
“We just like to live it up,” she said. “We have an active lifestyle.”
Most of all, Laurent said she is excited for the future.
I’m just really looking forward to being a part of what’s coming next … I plan to work hard for and with the community,” she said.