The borough has hired environmental scientist Phillip Kovacs as Kodiak’s new engineering and facilities director. He replaces Bob Tucker, who retired in April after a decades-long career overseeing the borough’s buildings and other assets.
Kovacs is a native of British Columbia with a background in solid waste management. He holds multiple master’s degrees – in environmental management, environmental engineering and physical chemistry.
Most recently he served as the solid waste manager for the city of Dawson Creek, in northern BC.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, majoring in chemistry.
“This is a career advancement for me,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Kovac said his wife and daughter will stay in Washington State for the time being.
The couple has a daughter at Portland State University, and a son who lives in upstate New York.
In a press release, the borough outlined some of Kovacs’ priorities as he steps into the new role.
“In addition to the capital projects underway and envisioned, Mr. Kovacs will help to implement the next steps in the renovation, renewal and replacement of facilities at the Hospital, Kodiak Fisheries Research Center, and other facilities. In addition, Mr. Kovacs will lead the effort related to the Landfill and the Leachate Treatment Plant.”
The borough is planning a more than $200,000 renovation to the baler building infrastructure at the landfill, and over $700,000 in renovations to the hospital. Additional school building renovation projects are ongoing as the borough works through a $10.2 million bond.
Kovacs said he finds Kodiak picturesque.
“It reminds me of Washington State and the Puget Sound area,” he said, adding that he’s happy to escape the frigid winters of northern Canada, where winter lows average in the single digits.
He plans to get involved in the community by hosting a radio show on KMXT. His preferred genre is EDM, or electronic dance music.
“The people seem nice here,” he said. “I’ve never had the mayor come welcome me to a new job before.”
“I’m still getting up to speed on all the projects that are going on,” he added. “I’m looking forward to exploring the island.”