Reed doing her part as Laurens administrator

Serving her hometown

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Hilary Reed, city administrator in Laurens, explains the Prairie Park Trail project recently. The city of Laurens is currently working to connect the Prairie Preservation Park to the town’s Sportsman Park Trail. Hilary Reed, city administrator in Laurens, explains the Prairie Park Trail project recently. The city of Laurens is currently working to connect the Prairie Preservation Park to the town's Sporstman Park Trail.

LAURENS — Hilary Reed, new city administrator in Laurens, wanted to be more than just someone who lived in the town she calls home.

So when the opportunity came up for her to serve her community, she took it.

“I wanted to not just be a citizen,” Reed said, “but to do my part for Laurens.”

Reed, a 2008 Laurens-Marathon High School graduate, was hired for the position in September.

Her first day on the job was Oct. 10.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Hilary Reed, city administrator in Laurens, left, goes over some paperwork with Joan Hoben, deputy city clerk, at Laurens City Hall recently. Reed took over as city administrator Oct. 10 Hilary Reed, city administrator in Laurens, left, goes over some paperwork with Joan Hoben, deputy city clerk, at Laurens City Hall recently. Reed took over as city administrator Oct. 10.

Reed had previously been training to become business manager for the Laurens-Marathon Community School District.

She replaces Barb Smith, who had served as city administrator since 2012.

Smith left for a position out of town, Reed said.

According to Reed, the job is a good fit for her because of the budgeting and accounting responsibilities.

While in high school, Reed said she actually didn’t like math.

But when she attended Iowa Central Community College, she found her calling under the tutelage of instructor Stacy Johnson.

“I enjoyed her teaching methods,” Reed said. “She made it fun.”

Reed was planning to major in business, but changed her mind in part because of Johnson.

“I went in to review with her (Johnson) before my finals and she had made the comment ‘when are you switching?'” Reed said. “I said, ‘How did you know that?’ I had only told like three people.”

“I just fell in love with the general accounting class, so I switched over to accounting,” she added. “That’s how I got into it and I just stuck with it.”

Reed would go on to earn her associate’s degree in accounting from Iowa Central Community College.

In 2012, she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business from the University of Iowa through an online program.

When asked what a typical day is like for her, Reed said every day is different.

“My days vary quite a bit” she said. “I am still learning a bunch of stuff.”

She has learned how involved city government can be.

“I am learning something new every day,” she said. “It’s fun and exciting being a part of the town in a different way. You don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes until you’re a part of it.”

Reed credited the city staff for their cohesiveness.

“The staff here is really great at helping to solve different challenges that come up and working to solve them together,” she said. “It has been a great environment. Everyone I work with has been very welcoming, embracing and extremely helpful.”

Reed said there are several ongoing projects in the community, but one she is excited to see finished is the Prairie Park trail project.

“It’s connecting our Prairie Preservation Park to our Sportsman Park Trail,” Reed said.

She said the project to increase recreational activities was to wrap up before the winter.

“They are trying to finish that up before the snow hits,” she said.

The project was funded through a REAP grant in the amount of $75,000, according to Reed.

Reed is married to her husband, Mason. Together they have a daughter, Hayden, who is 1 1/2, and a son, Gannon, who is 7 months old.

She said Laurens is the perfect community for her to raise a family in.

“We are raising our family here,” she said. “I love the people and how community minded they are. Our town just really supports everybody. Everyone has a smiling face and a friendly wave. We wanted to raise our children in that kind of community.”

Reed said she is looking forward to seeing the community develop.

“I am excited to help the community grow,” she said. “I think there has already been a good base put in place, and I am excited to help expand that.”

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