Ryan Heise, administrator for the Village of Egg Harbor for the last five years, announced he is leaving for a similar position in Saugatuck, Michigan.
Heise, who helped guide planning and construction of the Kress Pavilion, sustainability initiatives, and preliminary planning for the village’s upcoming reconstructions of both Highway 42 and Church Street, said there were multiple reasons for the move.
“Professional growth in my career here is rather limited,” Heise said. “I am ready for the next step.”
Saugatuck, about five times larger than Egg Harbor with a population of 960, is a vacation destination on Michigan’s western shore. The move not only takes him a step forward professionally, but a big step closer to family. Heise and his wife have a young baby and his family lives in Michigan.
“I’ll certainly miss him both on a personal and a professional level,” said Village President John Heller. “We accomplished a lot in the village and he has had a large role in that. We’re all very appreciative of the contribution Ryan has made to the village. I think he’s done a really nice job of networking on a statewide basis and that has made us much more aware of opportunities on a statewide basis and that state much more aware of Egg Harbor.”
The village received grants totalling more than $2.383 million toward its highway and Church Street projects in 2020.
Kress Pavilion manager Jess Reinke said Heise made an impact on the community beyond his role as an administrator.
“His efforts pioneering Egg Harbor as a Green Tier Legacy Community will last,” Rienke said. “He walked across the frozen bay to bring awareness to the back 40 mine and its impact on water quality here. He has vision.”
Heise’s successor will step into several large projects. Planning for the highway reconstruction is well underway and work is expected to begin in 2023. The renovation of Church Street is a major project that the village hopes eases congestion in the village, and parking concerns continue to be a hot topic. The future of the Alpine Resort remains up in the air, as does a hoped-for recreational trail between the village and Frank Murphy County Park. Reinke will take the reigns from Heise on that project.
But Heise said the village should be well-prepared for those challenges.
“I don’t feel like I’m leaving them hanging,” he said. “They have a great staff. What I’m most effective at is bringing people together to align on projects. We’ve done that. They have enough projects for five years at least.”
Heise said the Kress Pavilion is a point of pride from his time in the village.
“When I got here, they had two projects they wanted me to work on: the Kress Pavilion and the highway. The Kress Pavilion ended up being way more awesome and bigger than I anticipated. They wanted both of them at the same time, and I’m glad they didn’t end up doing that.”
Moving forward he urges the village to pay close attention to the details of the streetscape as they embark on the highway reconstruction. “Keep the focus on place-making, the placement of trees. Learn valuable lessons from the experiences of our neighboring communities.”
The village has begun working with a recruiting firm to identify candidates to replace Heise. It’s not clear if a suit and tie will be mandatory for the village’s next administrator.
“People always ask me, ‘Are you going to a funeral?’, but people need to trust me with their money,” Heise said of his violation of the Door County dress code.