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Federal Way grad earns engineer honors in Klickitat County

1979 Federal Way High School graduate and current Klickitat County Public Works Director Gordon Kelsey, left, accepts the award from Jay Webber of the County Road Administration Board. - Lou Marzeles, The Goldendale Sentinel
1979 Federal Way High School graduate and current Klickitat County Public Works Director Gordon Kelsey, left, accepts the award from Jay Webber of the County Road Administration Board.
— image credit: Lou Marzeles, The Goldendale Sentinel

Gordon J. Kelsey, a 1979 graduate of Federal Way High School, was named as the state's top county engineer earlier this month by the Washington State Association of County Engineers (WSACE).

Kelsey, who's been in charge of the public works department for Klickitat County since 2008, said his success and the accolades it brings, is completely dependent upon his team's success.

"I was honored and humbled at the same time," Kelsey said. "Honored, because it's just a very nice award, and everybody here has worked very hard in the last few years, and we were recognized for that. Humbled, because it wasn't myself alone that accomplished this, but the great staff that I have working for me, and who helped us get here."

Coming out of FWHS, Kelsey said he worked as a carpenter through the mid-1980s. About that time, he discovered he had a deeper interest in understanding how the field worked at a deeper level.

"I just got interested in the inner workings of things, and wanted to do more in the planning and designing of things," he said.

Kelsey graduated from St. Martin's College in 1991 from the civil engineering program.

"Probably one of the most rewarding projects I've done is the one I'm working on now, which is a new 911 dispatch center for Klickitat County. It's a great project, and very satisfying knowing we're doing something that's going to benefit the community for a long time to come," he said.

It's been a long time since Kelsey has called Federal Way home, but he says he still has many fond memories of the area.

"Boy, that was a long time ago," he said with a smile in his voice. "I have a lot of good memories of the people and the places, and it's nice that some of my family still lives there so I get to go back and visit."

 

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