Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of six Brookings City Council candidate profiles that will appear in The Brookings Register this week.
BROOKINGS – Verna Longville wants to help Brookings grow, so she’s running for a 3-year seat on the Brookings City Council.
Longville is part of a four-way race for two 3-year seats on the council that also includes Patty Bacon, Nick Schmeichel and Nick Wendell. The election is April 10.
“I believe that I would be a good fit for the city council because I have a positive can-do approach, and I am loyal and committed to fulfill the needs of our community to make it a better place for the future,” Longville said.
Longville grew up in Belle Fourche and attended Black Hills State University for one year. She attended Associated Schools in North Miami Beach, Florida, receiving a certificate in the travel industry.
“I’ve been in (the human resources) related field for 25 years,” she said.
She worked for Richmond Hill Mining Co. in Lead, doing benefits accounts payable and purchasing. Longville relocated to eastern South Dakota and worked for East River Electric, handling benefits for employees and retirees.
“Then I went on and furthered my career at May & Scofield (Manufacturing in Madison),” she said.
Longville now works at Bowes Construction in Brookings, where she is the human resources manager, recruiting and training individuals and working with safety.
“I have lived in Brookings for eight years,” Longville said. “I’ve worked in the community for over 12 years. It has been growing at a fast pace, so I would like to dedicate my time to continue to grow Brookings.”
Longville’s husband, Rick, has been with Bowes Construction for 31 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.
She is a member of the Brookings Area Human Resources Association and the National Society for Human Resource Management. She’s been a 4-H leader.
“I’ve been on safety committees with prior companies, as well. I’ve continued my education to grow my skills by taking Dale Carnegie courses, leadership courses,” Longville said.
“I’m running for council because Brookings is growing and prospering at a great rate, and for us to continue to do that, the workforce development, economic development, and infrastructure all go hand-in-hand,” she said.
Longville thinks her past and present work experience have prepared her to serve on council.
“I’m competent, I’m driven to succeed and I’m highly motivated and focused on continuous improvement,” Longville said.
She sees workforce development as a high priority.
“We need to create an environment to enhance the skills of our current workforce and attracting employees to our community. With the current workforce, we need to be able to work with the individual who’s willing to learn and to train them, use the work opportunity credit and have the opportunity to hire our veterans,” Longville said.
She thinks she knows what employees and businesses want.
“We have put packages and a presentation together to attract employees to our community and to our business, and it takes everyone involved,” she said, including the Chamber of Commerce and the schools.
“We want to bring businesses in that will not hurt our other businesses that have prospered and have an ongoing investment in our community,” Longville said.
It takes more than just people to make a community grow.
“Then with having your workforce and economic development, we have to have infrastructure to have the growth and development of our community to grow,” she said.
Longville wants Brookings to grow for the future.
“I see our future of building a strong foundation for future generations to grow, and it will take everyone to work together and look at the goals of the city of Brookings,” she said.
The Comprehensive Master Plan, the Capital Improvement Plan, and the Community Resource Plan are tools that need to be looked at annually, she said.
“You always look at your vision, but it’s more like long- and short-term goals – do they need to be changed for the direction that our community is going in? We need something to work towards,” Longville said.
She wants to make decisions based on facts.
“Always look for continuous improvement: improve on every situation to make it better than it was. We need to always work on planning and budgeting for the future of our city,” Longville said.
“No one group will have all the answers. It will take everyone to make a great community, like a company hires people and puts them in place to work together and uses their skills to advance the company,” Longville said.
She knows different people have different wants and needs.
“Everyone has issues or have strong feelings, but we have to be open-minded and listen to the community members and make the best decision on how it impacts the larger situation,” she said.
“We need to promote, protect and preserve our community’s values,” she said.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]