The Town of Truckee is indisputably changing in many ways. But some parts of Truckee have remained remarkably stable since Truckee incorporated in 1993: out at Town Hall turnover among those who head the Town’s various departments has been practically non-existent. However now Truckee’s first and only Town Manager, Steve Wright, is retiring after 11 years. Truckee is about to enter a new phase in its development. Steve Wright’s retirement and the selection of his replacement mark a momentous time in Truckee’s history. Truckee’s new Town Council faces a tremendous task in hiring Steve Wright’s replacement: someone who can continue the work of implementing the decisions of Town Council in this place we all love and call home. From a reporter’s point of view, Town Manager Steve Wright has always been the man behind the scenes. At public meetings, he tends to speak only to clarify matters; his infrequent public presentations are succinct, simple, professional and bland. Steve is hardly the guy out front making news. Despite his ability to deflect the spotlight, we know Steve Wright had more than a little to do with making Truckee a great place to live. And in announcing his retirement, Steve Wright finally presented an opportunity for Moonshine Ink to turn the spotlight on Truckee’s quiet Town Manager. Steve Wright’s accomplishments here in Truckee are many, and too numerous to list, but the greatest of these is unquestionably that he helped bring an old community, newly incorporated, from its conceptual beginnings to what the Town of Truckee is today. In many ways, Truckee’s Town Manager Steve Wright can be credited with having helped build one hell of an awesome Town. Many people in Truckee might not know that Town Manager Steve Wright’s first career choice in college was firefighting. After receiving his associate’s degree in fire science, Mr. Wright realized that the way to the top of the ladder in fire service was not necessarily the rung-by-rung climb, but through a degree in public administration. So he sought his bachelor’s degree in public administration. As a requirement of graduation, Mr. Wright served an internship during his last semester of college in Signal Hill, Calif., serving the Signal Hill City Manager. “I was really intrigued with the variety of things I got to do as an intern,” Mr. Wright said of his last semester in college. “The variety intrigued me.” Suddenly, firefighting seemed a little less intriguing. Upon graduation from College, Mr. Wright was hired by the city of Signal Hill, which created a position for him as assistant administrative officer, where he served two city managers during a five-year period before moving on. Soon after Mr. Wright’s second supervisor transferred from Signal Hill to Linwood, Calif., he realized he needed an assistant, and he knew the right person for the job. He called Steve and Steve applied. Steve was soon hired to serve as assistant to the city manager in Linwood, an urban area with a population of about 40,000. Within six months, Linwood’s city manager was fired by the city council and Steve Wright became acting city manager in charge of recruiting a permanent replacement for his former supervisor. “I guess I didn’t screw up too badly,” Mr. Wright said, “because they ultimately decided to appoint me as city manager.” He was 27 years old. After serving the city of Linwood for four years, Mr. Wright moved on to become City Manager of Taft, Calif., with a population of about 6,000. During his 12 years in Taft, Steve learned to fly and bought himself a plane. With a good friend in Incline Village, Steve became familiar with Truckee by occasionally flying into the Truckee Tahoe Airport. After one of those flights to Truckee, he was met at the airport by his friend, who had arranged a blind date for Steve. Her name was Diane, and the friend must have known Steve very well, for Diane later became Steve’s wife. After serving several years more in Taft, which Steve “very much enjoyed,” he and Diane decided to pursue a quality of life to satisfy their mutual needs. So they made the move to Big Bear Lake, Calif., where Steve was hired as City Manager in 1989, nine years after Big Bear Lake’s incorporation. A few years later Truckee’s first mayor, Kathleen Eagan, called with questions regarding Big Bear Lake’s recent incorporation. Another year later, Steve saw an ad: the Town of Truckee was hiring its first Town Manager. “The thought of working in Truckee took Diane and me full circle,” Steve said. “The idea of being city manager for a new city was a professional challenge I had not had… The idea of coming back to Truckee was very exciting.” Truckee’s first Town Council hired Steve Wright in September 1993. “The first council made the decision not to hire permanent employees before hiring the town manager,” Steve said. “From my perspective, that decision really made the team that much stronger.” Steve Wright has now worked in public administration for 36 years and has served as an appointed city manager for 31 years. Throughout his career, Steve has worked at continuing his education in public administration. While serving Truckee he became one of the first city managers in the country to become credentialed under a program created by the International City/ County Management Association. Currently fewer than 800 city managers have met the high credentialing standards set by the ICMA. Also throughout his career and much to his credit, Steve’s choice to find a new position has always been his own. He has steadily earned the respect of his peers statewide and among those with whom he has worked in local government. The following pages contain comments from some of those in Truckee who have worked with Steve. Here’s what they have to say about Steve Wright and how he helped build our great town. The entertaining and imaginative drawings that accompany Moonshine Ink’s tribute to Steve Wright were done by Bryan Mann, a junior at Truckee High School. Bryan started drawing at age 2, helped along by a father who is a paper salesman. “Instead of buying me an expensive baby toy, my father would give me a piece of paper,” Bryan said. Bryan says he has never taken any classes in drawing he just taught himself. He is greatly inspired by Anime (Japanese animation) and even started an Anime club at Truckee High he is president. He hopes to one day be an animator or graphic novel artist. Other interests…Bryan has been a competitive snowboarder for 5 years and was a thespian for a school production. To contact Bryan, email udamann2003@hotmail.com.

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