Bobbie Vickerman, shown here when she was employed with the city of Lanesboro six months ago, will assume the full-time duties of the Fillmore County coordinator position after 20-year coordinator Karen Brown retires at the end of the year. Vickerman will work with Brown for a month for training.
Bobbie Vickerman, shown here when she was employed with the city of Lanesboro six months ago, will assume the full-time duties of the Fillmore County coordinator position after 20-year coordinator Karen Brown retires at the end of the year. Vickerman will work with Brown for a month for training.
"I'm still kind of shocked at the position," expressed Bobbie Jo Vickerman, who was approved to become the new Fillmore County coordinator at Tuesday's commissioners meeting. It has been just a week since she was offered the position being vacated by longtime coordinator Karen Brown.

Vickerman had been interviewed on Nov. 5 along with four other candidates. Recalling the experience, Vickerman said she knew a couple of the other candidates when she was the Lanesboro city clerk/administrator just six months prior. Within those short six months, she has seen her professional life evolve at a rate she is still trying to comprehend.

Vickerman had served 10 years in Lanesboro when she became aware of a position in Winona County government. Last March, before she vacated the Lanesboro position, she had told the Republican-Leader, "I'm always trying to find ways to improve and better myself, and I think this job will challenge me in different ways."

At Winona County, she worked as the deputy finance officer and became familiar with finance programs, policies and procedures. She was only five months into her new job when she heard about the advertisement of the coordinator position in Fillmore County.

For Vickerman, it was like her dream job had suddenly become available. "You can't not apply," she explained about her reaction to the job opening. "It's a unique and huge opportunity."

After evaluating where she wanted to go in her career, Vickerman decided it would be best if she applied, though she was still incredulous at the opportunity. "A year ago, I was still planning on being with Lanesboro," she remarked.

The interview process for Vickerman was especially meaningful as a couple candidates had worked with her when she was at Lanesboro. She noted how she had shared hugs with them between interviews and that something like that would rarely happen in similar situations.

When she received a tentative offer the next day, she could hardly believe it. "I'm really excited to be working for Fillmore County," she shared.

The new job means Vickerman will be working where she has lived her whole life. She lives in Mabel with her husband, Cory, and two children, Coranda and Brodie. Having less travel time to work each day will benefit her kids.

Vickerman is also looking forward to the opportunity to work for the taxpayers and residents of the county. "It's cool to give back to the citizens of Fillmore County," she shared.

Making the transition will be her toughest task yet. "It's intimidating," she explained about taking over for Brown. "She has done such a great job. She has 20 years of knowledge and history."

Vickerman and Brown's time at the county will overlap for one month, during which Vickerman hopes to learn as much as she can. "I'm fortunate that I can work with her for a month," she said. "More time would be better."

The county commissioners hired Vickerman in part because of her knowledge, but she understands that she will need to rely on Brown's understanding of how it all fits into the history and future progress of the county.

Vickerman's initial goals are to get on the same page with the department heads, staff and the commissioners. "They have said this is where we want to go and how we get there, so I'll be working alongside them," she explained.

Energy and communication skills are what Vickerman said she will bring to the position on day one. She feels her transition will be made easier because of the quality of employees at the county level. She is also willing to take a step out of her comfort zone. "The more you learn, the more you are willing to take risks and make change happen," she said.

Since Winona and Fillmore counties combine resources in some projects, Vickerman is pleased she will be able to maintain a connection to those individuals she grew to appreciate in Winona.

Change happened suddenly and quickly, but Vickerman is looking forward to helping Fillmore County and its citizens long into the future.

"I hope it will be a career I'll be in for a very long time," she concluded.