[Sarah Nader - email@example.com]
Name: Adam Wallen
Occupation: Architect, building official
Town: Crystal Lake
Family: Wife, Ashley; children Colette, 5; Everett, 2; Scarlett, 2
Favorite McHenry County restaurant: The Tracks in Cary
First job: Referee
One word that describes you: Compassionate.
1. What is your job and what makes you good at it?
I am the building enforcement officer for McHenry County Department of Planning and Development. I oversee the building permits. In doing so, I am responsible for the application and initial interpretations of the building codes as adopted by McHenry County. I believe what makes me good at my job is the ability to listen and interpret a customer's project goals and provide reference-based guidelines to achieve those goals in a compliant manner.
2. What recent accomplishments and innovations are you most proud of?
Over the past two years, the department has successfully reduced permit review timeframes by more than 50 percent. A contributing factor in that reduction was the implementation of applicant checklists outlining the submittal, compliance review and inspection guidelines for each permit type required in unincorporated McHenry County. The project remains ongoing as innovations and modifications to the checklists and procedures are continually being tested and implemented to achieve the goal of a 10-day initial review period for the department. I have worked on many projects. While simple in nature, I am particularly proud to have been on the leading edge of this one because of its impact. With each stride toward a successful completion, the number of people positively impacted is twofold. Better dialogue is created with customers, staff capable of accomplishing more in less time, and the workplace culture is very positive.
3. How do you give back to the community, and what drives your service?
Construction projects, be it a deck or a completely new structure, can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience for anyone. As an architect, I have worked in nearly every facet of construction: designer, construction management, even a laborer. I try to provide resources and insight for people taking on their own project. The result drives me. Not only the finished product but the pride someone carries when they accomplish something they never thought they could. That pride and excitement extends beyond the footprint of the physical structure. It pours into other aspects of their life and has a positive impact on the people they are around. To be a part of it, in any capacity, is very rewarding.
4. What is something you have never done but want to do someday?
Someday my wife, Ashley, and I want to get in an RV and travel throughout the United States. We want to see every state, meet people, see the monuments, the architecture, everything we can. Notably, on that bucket list is a visit to every NFL stadium along the way.
5. What is the best career advice you have ever received?
The best career advice is from my parents, Tom and Karen, but they rarely said it. Rather they lived it and through example instilled in our family: Never Complain. Nothing is perfect and rarely do things go exactly as you planned, especially in construction. Therefore, be prepared to adjust and use the resources you have to make the best possible decisions.
6. Nominator's comment:
"Adam strives to provide customers, his clients, and his students with fair, professional and quality services. Construction projects can be hectic, confusing, and intimidating. Adam takes great pride in providing people in our community with a comprehensive understanding of a situation and putting them in the best position for success," nominator and wife Ashley Wallen wrote. "Prior to his professional career Adam was involved with Habitat for Humanity with St. Thomas Church working in Detroit on a residential rehabilitation project and received the Eagle of the Cross award from the Rockford Diocese for his volunteer efforts. He enjoys helping others achieve something they never thought they could, something that will help provide a higher quality of life, or something they can be proud of."