By Bonnie Culverhouse
Moving to Minden for his job is like coming home to 28-year-old Tyler Wallace.
“I’m originally from Shongaloo – I lived there until I was 12,” Wallace said. “Then we moved to Dubberly.”
And his family still lives in Dubberly, while his sister is in Minden – as is Wallace and his wife Bri.
He graduated Louisiana Tech in Construction Engineering Technology and various jobs on multi-million dollar infrastructure projects took him to Memphis, Little Rock, San Antonio and some places in between.
But now, as the City of Minden’s Assistant Public Works Director, Wallace is finally “home.”
“I love Minden and this area,” Wallace said. “It’s home to me. I got married in October, and this is where I want to start my family.”
In the spring, Wallace received a message from his mother, letting him know of a posted position of Public Works Director. He thought it sounded like a good fit and a way for his family to come back to Webster Parish.
“Everything happens for a reason, to me,” Wallace said. So, he applied for the job. Some members of the Minden City Council felt he was too young to be Public Works Director and voiced an opinion that having an assistant to learn the ropes might be a better plan.
“I know there’s a greater power; you’re not going to fault His plan,” Wallace said. “If it’s in His will, then it’s going to happen regardless of whether everybody’s smiling or everybody’s frowning.”
As Minden’s mayor, Terry Gardner said he believes in investing in young people to join the city’s team.
“It’s my job to leave it (the city) better than how I found it, whether I finish today or three terms down the road,” Gardner said. “I’m not doing the city any justice if I hire people my age. I have to hire people younger.”
Public Works covers water, sewer, power, streets, drainage, airport, water distribution and wastewater treatment.
“One of our biggest departments is Public Works,” Gardner said, who takes no money for his role as Public Works Director. “Our budget for this department is $4.6 million. Tyler’s salary is $70,000.”
Gardner admits, and Wallace agrees, that he (Wallace) does not know everything about public works. But the new assistant said the people with whom he works are ensuring he learns as he goes.
“I had Tyler talk with all the department heads in public works before we hired him,” Gardner said. “They had a say in this.”
And Wallace not only works in an office, but he spends a great deal of time in the field, learning the different jobs from all departments in Public Works.
“They are all great people to work with,” Wallace said. “They report to me, and I report to the mayor, but we all work together.”
Wallace’s first day on the job was July 19, 2021. Gardner said his goal would be to have Wallace take over the position of Public Works Director at the end of one year. It will take approval from the Minden City Council for that to happen.