MORRISON – Barry Dykhuizen, who is coming back to his hometown as city administrator, has been looking for a new job in recent months, even going as far as Massachusetts to interview.
Last week, the City Council unanimously hired Dykhuizen, 40, as the administrator.
"I'm really looking forward to this," Dykhuizen said in a phone interview Friday. "It's a unique opportunity to serve my hometown. It's a neat place. Morrison has a really nice downtown."
Since 2007, Dykhuizen has been manager of Guttenberg, which is along the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa. It's about half the size of Morrison.
During his time as manager, Guttenberg completed construction of a municipal marina.The city also has been working with FEMA to meet federal levee standards.
As manager, he has overseen an electric utility, which Morrison doesn't have.
A Morrison native, Dykhuizen attended Fulton Christian Academy and graduated from Morrison High School. He got his bachelor's degree in psychology from Northeastern University in Chicago in 2005 and his master's degree in public service from DePaul University in Chicago in 2008.
In the 1990s, he was an aspiring chef. He worked at the now-closed Goodfellow's restaurant in Minneapolis and TRU Restaurant in Chicago. He left that profession in 2000.
Living in Chicago sparked his interest in city government and politics, according to his online profile. While working on his degrees, he served internships with the village of Glencoe, Chicago Alderman Pat O'Connor, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
He is married with three children – 2-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) and a 4-year-old boy.
In recent months, Dykhuizen has been applying for manager jobs in a number of places. Unlike in Illinois, towns in other states often release the names of finalists, and in some cases they hold public interviews.
Two years ago, Sauk Valley Media asked for the names of finalists for the city administrator's position in Morrison. The city declined, saying the release of such information would invade candidates' "personal privacy."
In the latest case, Mayor Everett Pannier released the names to Morrison Online (thecity1.com) a few days before the council picked Dykhuizen. The interviews were behind closed doors.
Last month, Dykhuizen interviewed publicly for the town manager position in Lenox, Mass., which is a little larger than Morrison.
Asked about the media during that interview, he replied: "You have to get the facts out there and quell the rumors. The manager has to make himself available to meet with anybody about anything." That was reported by the Berkshire Eagle.
Dykhuizen told officials there he was drawn to Lenox, in part, to be closer to his wife's family in New England. He said he didn't intend to "hop from town to town," the newspaper reported.
He also interviewed in two small towns in Wisconsin: Columbus and Mukwonago.
Dykhuizen plans to start his job in Morrison in mid-October.