Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tesia Galvan
Staff Writer 

$2/hour job turns into 45-year career

Gary Gerber retires from City of Worland


February 6, 2016

Tesia Galvan

WORLAND - Two dollars an hour turned into a near 45-year career for one City of Worland employee, granted there were a few raises along the way.

Last Friday Gary Gerber retired from the Department of Public Works as the co-supervisor of Water and Sewer. Gerber was two months shy of making 45 years on the job.

As a supervisor, Gerber said his main responsibilities were supervising the crew on water and sewer projects. Water and sewer projects include water repair, water breaks, and sewer lines and supervising the cleaning of the sewer lines, Gerber said.

Brian Burky, Superintendent of Public Works, said, "Gerber was a talented individual and worked for many years doing complex projects," Burke said.

Burky said Gary didn't just work here. "He was a leader and very accomplished. He provided important guidance to the city and crew for many years."

Gerber's commitment to Worland was "Remarkable, in this day and age, to have somebody stay with an employer for this length of time. He worked at a very high level," Burke said.

Gerber started working for the City of Worland in 1975 for $2 an hour as a part-time hourly wage earner.

On his first day working for the city he had to go fix a water break. His superiors told him, "If we say stand up, you stand up." Gerber said they did so he stood up and just as he did a chunk of frost fell from the ceiling.

Gerber said he crawled out of the hole shaking and he asked himself, "Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?"

Indeed, it was.

"I stayed because I enjoyed the job. I enjoyed that type of work," Gerber said. "A lot of it was ... the people I worked with, the crew. They were a great bunch of guys."

His first duties were on the back of a three-man garbage truck. In 1976 he was hired full time and assigned the sewerjet detail for many years with his father. Gerber said his father ran the first sewerjet the city ever owned.

He later moved on to equipment operator and worked in every division of the city's public works.

"I was assistant superintendent for 19 years and the mayor decided to make change and do away with the assistant superintendent position ... and have to co-supervisors of public works," Gerber said.

"That change was made seven years ago," Gerber said.

Though there was a lot of overturn, the heart of the crew remained the same, Gerber said.

"I kept a list from '91 until I returned now. There were 49 people changes [in crew] down there," Gerber said in reference to a 24 year time span.

In his time at the city, Gerber was honored at the Wyoming Water Quality and Pollution Control Association Convention.

Gerber received the George Michael Outstanding Achievement in Utility Management Award.

He was nominated for the award by the 22-member city crew, though he didn't know he was even up for the award.

"It was quite a surprise," Gerber said.

The crew wrote in their nomination, "Gary is a great guy to work with. He is very willing to help in any way. Gary has trained many employees for the city, and has seen a lot of faces come and go, including mayors and council members."

"I'm going to miss working with the guys. They were a great bunch of guys," Gerber said.

With his new found free time, Gerber said he's going to relax a little bit, and then start some much needed yard work.

"I want to do some fishing ... and some traveling," Gerber said.

"I've never been through the state," Gerber said. He plans to revisit Yellowstone because he only went once in 1964 and wants to see it again.

Gerber said he thinks he'll travel back to his birthplace of Olmey, Ill., and visit relatives and cousins that he hasn't seen since 1975.

Gerber said he'll see what retirement brings him, and his dog Charlie.


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