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Coming out of retirement - Patrick Wussow dedicated to serving Breezy Point

Patrick Wussow took over as Breezy Point city administrator in March and brings with him a lot of experience, including previous work for the cities of Brainerd, Big Lake, Tonka Bay and North Mankato. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal

Retirement didn't last long for former Brainerd City Administrator Patrick Wussow when he decided to leave the work force in 2015.

"I failed at retirement," Wussow said, adding that he kept creating more projects for himself simply to fill his time.

Earlier this year, Wussow found a more permanent way to fill that time and came out of retirement to be the new city administrator in Breezy Point.

"I really enjoy it," he said of his new position, which began in March after previous City Administrator Joe Rudberg retired. "It's the staff that are good to work with there."

Breezy Point is the latest addition to Wussow's list of city work. Along with Brainerd, he previously worked as city administrator in Big Lake and Tonka Bay, county administrator in Aitkin and city planner in North Mankato. The southern Minnesota native noted that he moved north with each new job, ultimately leading the Brainerd lakes area, a place he has always enjoyed.

"My family always went up to Alexandria, but as soon as I became old enough, we vacationed up here - the Brainerd area," he said. "That was always a magnet for me."

In 2014 Wussow made a permanent move to Brainerd when he began as the city's administrator and doesn't have plans to leave anytime soon.

"I'll be there forever," he said.

Wussow's journey to administrator and city planner work began at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he originally planned to study political science. He changed course after meeting and clicking with a professor in the urban and regional studies department.

"By that time, urban and regional studies concentrated specifically on local governments," he said. "For the state of Minnesota ... if you had any sort of master's education, 80 percent of the city administrators came from Mankato State then. It is a premiere training ground for city administrators."

Having a bachelor's in urban and regional studies from Mankato worked out in Wussow's favor, as his resume shows. His career choice also helped him to be an active community member, which has always been important to him.

"Being active is what I've always done," he said. "And that's the best way I found to be active."

Even outside of the administrator job, Wussow manages to stay active in lakes area communities, as he sits on the planning commission, civil service commission and HRA in Brainerd and previously served on the county transit commission.

When he's not serving on commissions or working as city administrator, Wussow spends his time on landscaping projects and collecting classic cars.

He has another, more unique collection as well - water fountains.

"I like to get up early in the morning and have the water fountain on and watch the birds and the squirrels," he said, adding that he enjoys "the water noise."

Wussow has also enjoyed getting acquainted with Breezy Point through his new job and said he's learning all about the "Breezy Point Nice."

"A lot of cities would not do some of the things that we take care of here in Breezy Point," he said, noting building permit records as one example.

"Most cities, as soon as the building permit is done, they toss them in the garbage can, but we keep copies of them here so people can know where their septic systems are. So we help residents greatly," he said. "That's the 'Breezy Point Nice.'"

Because of Breezy Point's small size, Wussow said the city can afford to take time to work closely with residents. Several ongoing projects also pay testament to the city's dedication to its residents. Wussow noted the city's work with a proposed TIF district for the North Star Center project, making sure available airport lots get put to good use, and dealing with Breezy Point's numerous tax-forfeited lots as examples of how the local government really is working for the people.

"Whatever we can do, we're here for the residents and to make them happy, and it usually works out that way," Wussow said. "Breezy Point's really set in the right direction."

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