Knoxville — For 2003 Twin Cedars High School alumnus Tyler Christian, coming back to Marion County to serve his hometown has worked out well.
Christian officially became the Marion County Engineer on Dec. 23. He took over for Roger Schletzbaum, who retired from the position.
Born in Oskaloosa, Christian grew up in Tracy. After graduating from TCHS, he went on to Iowa State University to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He spent one year, while at ISU, working for the Engineering Services Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Christian left with his degree in 2008.
From there, he went to work for Foth Infrastructure and Eninvironment out of Johnston. His focus was on municipal infrastructure projects, such as sanitary sewers, storm sewers, etc. He earned his Public Engineer's license three-and-a-half years after his ISU graduation.
The environmental division of Foth consults the South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency. When Christian learned of the possibility that Schletzbaum was going to retire, he looked into the job.
Christian still has ties to Marion County. He and his wife of seven years, Sarah (Williams), are TCHS alumni, and Christian's parents, Mike and Brenda Christian, as well as his grandparents, Henry and Lillian Ray, still live in the Twin Cedars School District. Mike is a recent retiree from the Department of Veterans Affairs and now works part-time doing maintenance for Pella Regional Health Center. Brenda works for a CPA firm in Pella.
Christian said it was his grandfather who inspired him to explore a career in engineering. Henry Ray worked in construction, often running a bulldozer.
"I always wanted to run a bulldozer and follow in his footsteps," Christian said.
When Christian told Henry that he wanted to go into construction, Henry suggested that Christian get a college education, to have something to fall back on if construction did not work out. Civil engineering was seen as the avenue in which Christian could both build a career, as well as roads.