Tenpas tabbed as face of Falls

Sheboygan Falls natives assumes deputy administrator duties
by Jeff Pederson Sheboygan Falls News Editor

SHAD TENPAS has been named to fill the newly created city of Sheboygan Falls deputy administrator position. Tenpas is expected to assume the city administrator position currently held by Joel Tauschek, which Tauschek returns in 2016. - Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson SHAD TENPAS has been named to fill the newly created city of Sheboygan Falls deputy administrator position. Tenpas is expected to assume the city administrator position currently held by Joel Tauschek, which Tauschek returns in 2016. - Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson After 17 years, a new face familiar to many local residents has been selected to head up the city of Sheboygan Falls municipal services staff.

With the impending retirement of long-time City Administrator and Clerk-Treasurer Joel Tauschek in 2016, the Sheboygan Falls Common Council recently selected Sheboygan Falls native Shad Tenpas to fill the newly created deputy administrator position at City Hall.

While he may be new to city government, Tenpas is certainly no stranger to the Sheboygan Falls community.

The 1988 Sheboygan Falls High School graduate has been involved in his family’s business, Tenpas Drywall, for the past 26 years in a variety of management capacities and its currently the majority owner of the business.

Sheboygan Falls Mayor Randy Meyer said the deputy administrator position attracted substantial interest from candidates both near and far.

“We received 26 resumes for the position, most of which were from people living in the local area and throughout Wisconsin, but we also received resumes from out-ofstate, including Minnesota, Michigan and California,” Meyer said. “We narrowed that group down to six candidates who were interviewed and from there we selected two finalists.”

Meyer indicated Tenpas’ experience in running a small business made him a highly attractive candidate for the deputy administrator position.

“Shad really jumped out mainly because of his experience in his family’s business,” Meyer said. “He worked his way up and did pretty much everything within the business at one point or another. The fact that he conducted regular six-month employee reviews was a very big factor in selecting him for the position, because that is something we are hoping to do within our departments.

“He also prepared an employee handbook at Tenpas Drywall, which is also something we have been looking to do,” he said. “We were also struck by his dedication to taking care of people, customers and employees alike. He has also taken care of the payroll at his family business, which is a big key. In talking with his references, I learned that Shad possesses a great attention to detail and is just a quality person.”

According to Meyer, the fact that Tenpas is a Sheboygan Falls native played a factor in his hiring, albeit a comparatively minimal one.

“I would say it was a factor, but it was not one of the big factors in his hiring,” Meyer said. “It is certainly a plus to have a person that knows the city and the history of the city. I personally think that is important because there will be much less of an adjustment period for that part of it.”

Tenpas started at Tenpas Dry- wall in 1989 and now serves in an ownership capacity.

“After I graduated from high school, I thought I wanted to become an engineer and I attended MSOE ,” Tenpas said. “I was not thrilled with that experience and I quickly found out that being an engineer was not for me.

“From there, I started in the family business doing general drywall installation and labor, as well as finishing and taping” he said. “I wanted to do more, so I advanced to doing bidding and billing and eventually into more of a management position where I was doing a lot of networking and working directly with clients on contracts”

As the construction industry grew through the 1990s, Tenpas Drywall enjoyed great success.

“As the construction market started to explode in the ‘90s, we hired a number of employees to keep up with the demand,” Tenpas said. “We got up to 30 full-time employees and had as many as 30 sub-contractor contracts. That is around the time when I moved forward with developing an employee handbook.

“We also worked to improve what we offered to our employees as far as health insurance, 401K, vacation, sick days and use of company vehicles,” he said. “I’ve always felt that is important to take care of the people that take care of you and do something in return for all that they do. I think we’ve done that pretty well at Tenpas Drywall through the years.”

Tenpas helped to guide the business through a rocky economic period, which began in 2008.

“When the economy began to relax and the construction industry started to sag, we had a number of employees leave the trade because they were worried about their future.

“However, we actually didn’t have to terminate anyone during that time, because several of our employees decided to pursue switching careers,” he said.

Despite the economic downturn in the construction market, Tenpas was able to help guide Tenpas Drywall through the tough times relatively unscathed leading up to his purchase of the business last October.

“We made it through the tough times and kept things going and now business has started to pick up in the past few years,” Tenpas said. “Last October I purchased the business from my parents. It had been a gradual process over several years and now I have owned the business for the past 10 months.”

While working in the family business and raising five children (Jacob, Jade, Jared, Justin and Jonah) with his wife Tanya, Tenpas found time to complete a business administration degree at Lakeland College in 2005.

“Finishing my business degree was something I felt was important to do and I’m glad I did it,” Tenpas said. “It has helped me in running the business and I think it will continue to help me in this job as well.”

Being involved in city government is something Tenpas has had on his mind for a number of years.

“I have been interested in city government for a long time,” Tenpas said. “I just didn’t have the time to run for alderman, but I still felt I would like to be involved at some point.

“I actually talked with Joel [Tauschek] in 2005 about what I would need to do in order to be considered for a city administrator job,” he said. “I told him it was a role I was really interested in and he gave me some tips and ideas at the time that I worked on and developed over the last few years. I also did a personal assessment through by church, Gibbsville Reformed Church, a few years ago, which showed that my strengths were in administration, so that gave me some encouragement to pursue this.”

Tenpas, who began his new duties on Monday, Aug. 10, said his decision to apply for the deputy administrator position was one that was carefully thought out.

“I saw the ad for the position in The Falls News in April and I was intrigued,” Tenpas said. “I talked with my parents, my wife and my kids about it and I conveyed that it would require some pretty big changes.

“My kids, who have only known me as working for the family business, actually said I should do it,” he said. “It took a lot of thought, but I’m glad I did it.”

Not only is Tenpas learning the deputy administrator position, he is also in training to assume the director of city services position upon Tauschek’s impending retirement.

“Joel has been very patient and kind to me so far in getting me up to date on the job,” Tenpas said. “It is going to take some time for me to adjust. It is definitely a major change and the transition is a process that will play itself out over a period of time.

“I’m been learning about setting up budgets and grants,” he said. “Every day has been something different. I’m studying and learning right now and I will continue to do that for quite some time. In addition, I need to think about that next year at this time I will be doing Joel’s job and I need to know everything about all these things.”

Ten pas’ duties will include supervising each city department, including the police, building inspection-assessor fire, public works, city services and utilities departments.

“These departments have always reported to me, but under this structure, each department head will report to Shad as the city administrator and Shad will then report to me as mayor,” Meyer said. “We plan to hire a city clerk in the not-too-distant future, who will serve as Shad’s right-hand person.

“We want to give Shad time to settle in before seeking a city clerk because we want Shad to have an input in that process,” he said. “I’ve been a big proponent of getting back to two administrators at City Hall. When I started on the City Council, Corby Felsher was the director of city services and Joel was the city clerk. When Corby retired, someone had the idea to combine the two jobs and that is what happen when Joel was promoted to replace Corby 17 years ago.”

Meyer says Tenpas will be more involved in networking in the community and promoting the city of Sheboygan Falls.

“Joel has basically been doing two jobs all these years, and he just doesn’t have the time to do all the things a city administrator would typically do,” Meyer said. “With his business and construction background, we are looking for Shad to become more involved in economic development and work on connections to further develop and improve our city. He will be responsible for overseeing each city department and budgeting, as well as employee contract negotiations and benefits, which are things he has done before in his business.

“Joel has been tied up doing a lot of city clerk-treasurer work that will eventually be shifted to a new person down the line,” he said. “Joel is an incredibly hard worker and has done outstanding work for the city for many years while juggling a number of duties. Splitting his position into two separate positions will be a positive move for the city.”

Looking to the future, Tenpas has one particular area in which he would like to see improvement and development and another he would like to see maintain its current lofty status.

“Vision Park is something I would really like to focus on,” Tenpas said. “We need to get that up and running. The city is getting more aggressive with marketing, such as adding signage and communicating with local businesses about the opportunities there.

“On the other hand, I think our downtown is the jewel of Sheboygan County,” he said. “It is the hub of the city and one of the key elements in keeping our city vibrant. I am looking forward to working with Chamber-Main Street to further develop the connection between the public and private sector.”

No matter how good he may be at his job, Tenpas realizes that the role of a public official often comes with a certain level of scru- tiny.

“Being in the public eye will be something I need to get used to,” Tenpas said. “There will be people that might not be happy with something I do or a decision I make, but I want people to know that I will do whatever I can for the good of the community.

“Even though that will be my goal every day, I know not all of the 7,000 people that live here will be happy with me all of the time,” he said. “I want people to feel that they are heard and respected. That doesn’t always mean we will make a decision in their favor, but I will go out of my way to make sure people are treated in the best way possible, no matter what their opinion or point of view might be.”

Tenpas says Tenpas Drywall will continue in his absence.

“We have some employees that want to step up and keep it and my parents want to do so as well,” Tenpas said. “Even though I might not be as involved, Tenpas Drywall is not going anywhere.”

In his spare time, Tenpas enjoys coaching youth football and baseball in Sheboygan Falls, volunteering with activities at Gibbsville Reformed Church and spending time with his family.

Tenpas can be reached at 457- 7900 Ext. 2 or shad@shebfalls.com

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