Kirk Lagerquist brings his experience as Naval Base Ventura County’s former second-in-command
Navy veteran Kirk Lagerquist started his new position this week as general services director for Santa Barbara County.
Mr. Lagerquist is assuming his duties from Janette Pell, who is retiring at the end of March after serving six years as the general services director.
“I am very excited to have achieved this position for my second career,” said Mr. Lagerquist, whose first day on the job was Monday. “Having lived in Southern California four times throughout my Navy career, and with my daughter being born here, I knew I wanted to stay when I retired from the Navy.
“This position really aligns well with the background and experiences I gained throughout my Navy career, where I was a civil engineer corps officer in charge of facilities maintenance and construction of Navy and Marine Corps installations around the world,” Mr. Lagerquist told the News-Press. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to provide public service for the citizens of Santa Barbara County.”
“My last assignment in the Navy was as the chief staff officer for Naval Base Ventura County — second-in-command of the installation,” said Mr. Lagerquist.
“I was essentially the deputy mayor for the three bases that comprise NBVC, which contains a deep-water port, two airfields and an isolated island,” he said, referring to the bases at Port Hueneme, Point Mugu and San Nicolas Island.
“Our role at NBVC was to be the landlord for the base, providing facilities and services for the 80 tenant commands and roughly 19,000 personnel that live and work there.”
The News-Press asked Mr. Lagerquist about how his naval career has prepared him to be general services director for Santa Barbara County.
“As a career civil engineer corps officer in the Navy, I have been assigned to a number of public works organizations, culminating in being the public works director for Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and also at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa. Those two assignments specifically have set me up well for this general services director position, as I was responsible for maintaining facilities, capital improvements, renovations, utilities, energy programs, vehicle fleets and real estate agreements, and leading a large workforce of civilian engineers, contracting specialists, engineering technicians and blue-collar tradesmen.
“I also led large construction programs at the White House in Washington, D.C., and at Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif. I’ve worked in large bureaucratic organizations at the headquarters level, where I had to interact with elected officials, presidential appointees, policymakers and career civil servants to develop and define programmatic level policy at a global scale to best run Navy and Marine Corps installations.”
Mr. Lagerquist attended Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont, where he received a bachelor’s in civil engineering. He was awarded a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship and was commissioned as an active-duty civil engineer corps officer upon graduation. Six years into his career, the Navy sent him to graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he received his master’s in civil engineering, specializing in construction management.
Mr. Lagerquist also attended the executive education program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
He discussed what’s ahead in his new career.
“My initial goal is to seamlessly take the reins from the outgoing general services director, Janette Pell,” Mr. Lagerquist told the News-Press. “She has built a great team and modernized the entire program during her tenure.
“I need to come in, learn specifically how the county operates, get to know my team and their strengths and competencies, and then leaning on my experiences within the Department of Defense, figure out how I can continue to refine or improve processes and procedures to make the department even more efficient and effective to best serve the county,” said Mr. Lagerquist. “I will be responsible for facilities maintenance, construction and renovation, energy, vehicle fleet, real estate, procurement, as well as budgeting to support these programs. These are all programs that I have done throughout my Navy career, at both the tactical and strategic levels.”
“I was born and raised in Bangor, Maine, the exact opposite corner from Santa Barbara,” he continued. “I am committed to serving Santa Barbara County and its citizens. I look forward to continuing a legacy of public service, transitioning from national defense to a county level.
“I thoroughly enjoy living here in Southern California and all that it has to offer. In my spare time, I enjoy running, hiking and camping, and would like to get back into playing ice hockey at the rink in Goleta.
“I am grateful to have been hired by the county, and I look forward to this new role as I start my second career.”