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KHS grad takes job in city hall...

It’s not often that people from small towns in North Dakota land a job they are qualified for in their hometown. McKinzie Jensen did and she couldn’t be happier.

6/20/17 (Tue)

Assistant business manager . . . McKinzie Jensen at her desk in Kenmare City Hall. Jensen was hired as assistant business manager to fill Jennifer Nelson’s position. Nelson is leaving the city position at the end of the month to take a teaching job at Bowbells school.

By Marvin Baker

It’s not often that people from small towns in North Dakota land a job they are qualified for in their hometown. McKinzie Jensen did and she couldn’t be happier.

Jensen, 20, a 2015 Kenmare High School graduate, became the assistant business manager for the city of Kenmare a couple of weeks ago and is settling into her new position.

She replaces Jennifer Nelson, who will remain on the job until the end of the month.

A number of well qualified people applied for the new position, according to city officials, but Jensen believes strongly that being an intern last year made a big difference in her interview approach.

She was a city hall intern last summer and filled in throughout the year while she was home. It made her more comfortable in her surroundings and how she answered questions when interviewed by city officials.

Now, her responsibilities have been taken up a notch but she isn’t the least bit worried and expects to serve Kenmare residents well.

“I had a feel of what I do and I enjoyed doing it,” she said. “A lot of it is the same work. Jen (Nelson) taught me the concept of Channel 2, there’s water deposits, pet licenses and RTC deposits. I do the Memorial Hall schedule and have the campground responsibility too. A lot of people have been calling about that with the All-School reunion coming up.”

In addition, Jensen will assist auditor Marki Ellis when the need arises.

She admits her biggest challenge is going to be the city’s water system and how it works. However, she said Nelson has already taught her a lot about  the intricacies of the billing system and that Nelson has it all very well organized, which helped Jensen make a smoother transition.

“She set me up with step-by-step instructions,” Jensen said. “And if I don’t know, I can always call and ask her.”

As she pointed out, Nelson will help her daily until the end of the month, then she’s on her own.

“She’ll leave me with a lot of information,” Jensen said. “She taught me everything I need to know.”

A second challenge, that isn’t necessarily work related, is that Jensen is currently a full-time, online student at Valley City State University, working toward a business education degree. She holds an associate of arts and science degree from Bismarck State College.

“So I’m a full-time online student and I have a full-time job,” she said. “It will be a challenge the first couple of weeks.”

She admits she doesn’t have a lot of free time these days because homework consumes a considerable amount of time.

Jensen is also grateful in another sense that she actually has a full-time job at 20 years old. Most students work part time as the work their way through college, but Jensen is at home, staying with her parents and being around people every day whom she knows.

That in itself adds another element to her satisfaction.

While she was going to college in Bismarck, she would often come home to see her sister Marissa play volleyball, and now that she works here every day, it will be much easier to cheer on Marissa and the Kenmare Honkers this fall.

And, if work needs to be done at home, she’s willing to do that to. She said harvest isn’t really her cup of tea, but if her parents need help driving a grain wagon or something, she is more than willing to help out to get the harvest completed in a timely manner.

She believes the most fun and interesting part of her new job will be with Channel 2, Kenmare’s public access channel on cable TV. She will placing updates on the channel regularly.

Jensen said she had a good feel for the residents of Kenmare, but it turns out, she knows more city patrons than she thought she did.

She chats with Mayor Dwight Flygare almost every day and talks to city council members frequently when they drop by city hall for various reasons.

“It’s a good way to interact with people,” Jensen said. “And it’s a comfortable atmosphere with people who make you feel welcome. It’s important.”

She’s finding out that her work comes in spurts, but there’s never a dull moment because she can’t predict what’s happening next.

“It’s a great job and I enjoy it,” Jensen said. “I wake up in the morning and say to myself, ‘I can’t wait to go to work.’” ... 

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