t FOR THE PUBLIC: Samuel Fate Longmire, suburbs of Rough and Ready
My job title: Air pollution control specialist with the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.
What I do in my job: In a nutshell, I try to keep people from hurting each other through what they are causing to enter our air. I perform inspections, write permits, respond to public complaints, provide education on air pollution, calculate air emissions from various activities, and work with industry to make sure air pollution controls are adequate to protect public health and meet various local, state and federal requirements.
Why my job is important to the public: We all breathe. Air quality is a public health agency. Our policies and actions are driven by our ever-expanding knowledge of air chemistry and the effects of air pollution on human health.
The special skills and talents I bring to my job: I can apply elements from my diverse background to new situations. I’ve been a construction worker, museum administrator, English teacher, field botanist, lawyer’s assistant, and consultant specializing in habitat analysis, endangered plant species, wetland ecology and permitting. I also hold an undergraduate degree in English and a MS in environmental science.
The best part of my job is when: I can help people – especially children.
The part of my job that I like least is: Long hours at the computer – ugh!
A day of work I’ll always remember was …: When a kid secretly thanked me for making his father quit burning garbage.
How I got my job: Qualifications, perseverance and serendipity.
How long I’ve been working here: Over three years.
My dream job would be: I’m not even 40 yet – too young to decide on a dream job.
My family: Twin boys, almost age 5, and a truly wonderful wife.
My hobbies: Rock collecting (with a mild case of gold fever), gardening, writing poetry, and studying wildflowers, fungi and lichens, with a particular interest in cooking and eating them.
When I was a kid, I …: Was usually either on a soccer or baseball field or playing in the woods. In the creek bed behind our house, I built castles and cities of rocks and sticks, occupied by such noble denizens as hickory nuts, locust shells and snakeskins.
If money were no object, I would: Buy natural areas for public enrichment. Their management would include propagating and harvesting edible/medicinal wild plants, bow hunting several days a year, low-impact tree thinning and ecologically strategic burns to control invasive plants, provide firebreaks and maintain a healthy ecosystem.
My dream vacation: Having spent three college semesters in England, I would like to take my family there and hike extensively in the Lake District.
If a movie were made of my life, I would be played by: My wife says a younger Robert Redford.
The people who have made the biggest difference in my life: My children. As they learn and grow, I see the world anew.
My hero: When I was a kid, I had several heroes who played for the Cincinnati Reds. Now, particularly as I raise children of my own, my real hero is my father.
The best book I’ve read lately was (and tell us why)… Diane Ackerman’s “Natural History of the Senses” because it furthered both my understanding of the world and my appreciation of the miracle of life.
The soundtrack to my life would include these songs: “Kumbaya” and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.
I like living in Nevada County because … : Folks are generally friendly and caring, and it offers great opportunities to hike and teach my children about rocks, plants and critters. When I recently visited my brother in San Francisco, I said “hi” to somebody we walked past on an empty street at night, as I would do here, and my brother explained in exasperation that if I say “hi” to somebody in the city, they think, “What do you want? Why are you bothering me?” That is why I like living in Nevada County.
“For the Public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a public servant to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.
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