Northbrook man serves Northfield on several fronts
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:04AM
NORTHBROOK — Northfield Assistant Public Works Director Richard “Dick” Knudson is a man of many hats. Sure, he’s a dad, husband and North Shore neighbor (Northbrook resident raised in Wilmette). But did you know he’s also a fire captain? Yep. Northfield is a rare municipality that combines its fire and public works department. So now the question begs: What’s it like being a man of many hats? If you want to hear Knudson’s secret holiday wish.
Sure, he’s a dad, husband and North Shore neighbor (Northbrook resident raised in Wilmette). But did you know he’s also a fire captain? Yep. Northfield is a rare municipality that combines its fire and public works department. So now the question begs: What’s it like being a man of many hats? If you want to hear Knudson’s secret holiday wish.
Q. Your wife is Wendy, and you have two sons, Kyle, 17, a Glenbrook North High School junior, and Nick, 14, a GBN freshman. Your youngest is Emma, 6, a first grader. Do tell more.
A. I grew up in Wilmette. Dad is John, mom is Sue (they now live in Lindenhurst). Kent (is my) oldest brother (Mundelein), and Nancy, sister, (Naperville). Brad, (my youngest brother) lives in Northbrook. I have lived in Northbrook since 1993.
Q. Explain how your job is unique.
A. We are one of the few, or only, in this area that does both public works and fire department duties. We work on the water mains, we work on the fire hydrants, we work on the streets. It makes us do our jobs even better, on both ends, both public works and the fire side.
Q. How do you plan to spend the holidays?
A. With family at my sister’s in Naperville.
Q. Why is Northfield such a special community?
A. The size of the community makes it easy to know everyone.
Q. How many lane miles make up a first pass in a snowstorm?
A. We usually put 150 miles with all eight vehicles.
Q. Any other fun facts about snow removal?
A. We have eight plow routes including a sidewalk machine. We have two back up vehicles. We typically start to plow early in morning (4 a.m.), so the roads are cleared for traffic at 7 a.m. Snow plowing is one of our priorities.
Q. What is your advice to residents about snow?
A. Please remove vehicles from roadways after a three-inch snowfall. It makes our life better and keeps the roadways clear.
Q. Why is the Northfield community a great place to be of service?
A. We are able to do multiple jobs for the same village including snowplowing, roadwork, water and sewer maintenance, and firefighters and paramedics.
Q. Do you predict a snowy season?
A. Yes, but typically we prepare for the worst.
Q. Are you a summer or winter person?
A. I enjoy the change of the seasons.
Q. Any funny stories from your time at Public Works?
A. During one blizzard, I almost picked up a car covered with snow with our front end loader.
Q. What have you learned while working at the Village of Northfield?
A. I have learned so many things about how local government works, made me more mechanically inclined, and how to be a better person.
Q. Why is it so important to be a good Northfield neighbor?
A. Villages have adapted to doing more with less. We rely on borrowing from our neighbors and returning the favor when they need assistance with both people and equipment. We also partner with surrounding communities on large purchases such as road, sewer, and water work.
Q. Why is Northfield a great place to raise a family?
A. Northfield has great employees and a great school district. It’s close to the city and transportation.