The way Lacey McQuead sees it, she’s standing on the shoulders of a giant.
McQuead, 33, is the new city administrator for Enterprise, replacing Michelle Young who retired after more than 30 years in the position.
“I think the only reason I’ll be successful in this position is because I had Michelle Young as my mentor for so many years,” McQuead said.
When McQuead came to the city offices back in 2012, she knew “very little,” she said.
She’d trained in dental assisting, radiology and business, but had no idea what she really wanted to do with her future.
“I just walked in one day, and they were looking for help,” she recalled. “I took messages, maintained the office, helped customers, and that was it.”
When Janet Livingston retired in 2013, Young asked McQuead if she’d like to stay on –– and in that short amount of time, McQuead had discovered her calling.
“I think it was the customers,” she said. “I’m from Wallowa County born and raised. My kids were in school here, and I thought it was a great opportunity.”
There was something even greater kindling in McQuead’s heart, and Young apparently saw it. It was a passion for the future of the city.
Young nurtured that flame, opening a lot of doors in different areas for McQuead over the following five years, sending her for trainings and expanding her responsibilities. By the time Young retired, McQuead was the human resources director in addition to administrative assistant.
And she was Young’s trusted right hand.
“She made it possible for me to have this opportunity,” McQuead said. “Knowing that Michele had been here for almost 30 years at that time and seeing her passion and drive, I was very interested in having that same thing.”
She has big shoes to fill.
“Michelle had this thought in her mind that she wanted to build a foundation for progress in the city,” McQuead said. “She wanted the infrastructure of the city to be what it needed to be for progress. I think that is my hope for the future of the city –– to continue the progress.”
When the advertisement went out for a new city administrator, 13 individuals picked up applications. But the list of responsibilities is daunting. In the end, only McQuead applied.
“There was a unanimous confidence about her abilities among the councilors,” said city councilor Micah Agnew. “I am thrilled that she’s taken on this role. She has displayed incredible competence and passion for the position. I think she’ll continue to do a fantastic job.”
Mayor Stacey Karvoski was equally unequivocal in her praise.
“I think she’s going to be great,” Karvoski said. “She’s already been an asset to the city and I think she’ll continue to be an asset. She’s a great team player and she does a great job.”