Transportation manager works for nearly perfect roads
As a manager, John Flansberg has two things going for him.
He has vision and he’s a perfectionist.
So much so, that Flansberg recently left administering behind and headed to South Edmonds Drive to oversee the drawing of a line down the middle of the road.
Edmonds was being prepared for repaving and Flansberg, Carson City transportation manager, wanted the road paved with a perfect center — with 11-foot lanes and 2-feet on either side of a fog line.
“I knew exactly how Edmonds looked, and I knew I didn’t like how the existing striping was. So, I spent a couple hours on a Friday making sure they knew where I wanted the center line,” he said
Micromanaging? No, he says.
It means he cares enough to take the time to make sure things get done right.
Planning and fretting over the city’s annual street maintenance program is one way Flansberg keeps in touch with his technical engineering and construction background while juggling multiple administrative jobs as a key city employee.
He travels different routes in his trips through town to make sure he knows where the roads are that could benefit from some improvements. Part of the reason he accepted a job with Carson City in 1997 was because he likes service. And fixing roads and planning better transportation facilities helps him provide a bit of service on a daily basis.
“Family, work and church, are my main goals and focus,” he said.
Flansberg grew up on a small farm seven miles south of Willamina, Ore., population 1,200. His youth was a mix of fishing in the creek behind his house, working in the family logging business and juggling multiple school activities including band, basketball and student government. He learned the value of work from his hard-working family members and was encouraged to do anything he set his mind to. The youngest of 17 grandchildren in the Flansberg family, he said although no other member of his family attended college, he never had a doubt that he would.
“I see things as I think they should be, and I work to get there,” he said.
Flansberg and his wife, Corina, met at a church dance when he was 16 and she was 17. They married four years later and are the parents of Heidi, 12, Jacob, 10 and Elizabeth, 6. They celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary Wednesday.
When he first started college at Western Oregon College, he had his eye on a career in pharmacy. However, a semester of organic chemistry convinced him engineering was a better path. He transferred to Oregon State where he earned a degree in civil engineering. In engineering, “you can see what you’ve accomplished, like a new road you’ve paved.”
“Most everything we work on is noticeable,” he said. “You can see your work at the end of the day.”
Flansberg worked as an intern for Granite Construction Co. between his junior and senior years of college, gaining valuable experience in project management and construction estimating. Days after Flansberg graduated in 1990, he and Corina relocated to Gardnerville with days-old Heidi for a full-time position with Granite.
“I never thought Grandma (Corina’s mom) would ever forgive me for taking her grand baby out of her arms,” he jested.
His work as a project manager and estimator for Granite put a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and gave him “well-rounded experience” as he traveled Northern Nevada working on projects from parks in Gardnerville to road reconstructions outside Fallon. However, when Granite started working on projects mostly at night, time with his family suffered.
“It got to a point where my oldest two kids were sneaking into the bed room and saying, ‘Daddy, are you awake?’ just to see me,” he said.
He started as Carson City’s street operations superintendent on Jan. 2, 1997, the day after the New Year’s flood ravaged the area. Accustomed to working long hours, Flansberg logged a 12-hour day in rain gear and has been running full speed since. He has been promoted several times to his current position, which puts him in charge of the city’s landfill, street operations, transit and the Regional Transportation Commission planning.
As an administrator, Flansberg tries to take the vision he sees in his mind of how things should be, and works at getting his employees to meet that vision.
A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Flansberg serves as a leader in the Carson stake’s young men’s organization and frequently works with youth.