Engineer retires after 25 years with Douglas County

A familiar face around Douglas County government will be seen less frequently after this week.

Dennis Little, 50, an engineer with the county since August 1978, is retiring.

"It's funny," he said recently. "It hasn't hit me yet."

A ceremony in his honor was held at the Douglas County Commission meeting Sept. 4.

Little is known by county employees for passing out holiday-theme pencils throughout the years.

"It was sort of fun to brighten up the season," he said. "I am all penciled out. It will be nice to visit on Valentine's Day and bring pencils in."

Originally from Riverside, Calif., Little found out about Carson Valley through friends and family who lived in the area. The beauty is what attracted him.

"I plan to stay in the area," he said. "I told people not to pester me until after Groundhog's Day on Feb. 2. If I see my shadow, I'll come out of my house."

Over the past 25 years, Little said most things in county offices have stayed the same "with different themes and variations."

Originally, county engineers worked in a public works department, but that was changed to Community Development.

However, "My job always stayed the same," Little said.

In the last few months, he has tracked residential growth in the county and been the "answer man" about sewer permits.

"When you've been around for 25 years, people assume you know it all," Little said, laughing.

He said he got into community service because he likes to be a problem solver.

"I'll miss all the people I've got to meet," he said. "I liked the social interaction, the public interest side.

"What I won't miss is that one out of 100 persons you wish you didn't meet, those few rare special meetings."

Little said going into a local grocery store is social opportunity enough these days.

"Besides, a little 30 minutes extra in Raley's can solve problems," he said, so being retired "won't be much of a change."

Little volunteers at the Douglas County Library to teach origami -- a talent he picked up from his grandmother when he was a child.

"TV was not prominent, but during weekends at Grandma's house, there would be paper and glitter and amusing things to make," he said.

Little has a degree in geology and still has a passion for rock collecting. He makes his own shirts, most with a unique, Hawaiian motif.

He urges residents to get involved in the governmental process by voting and attending meetings.

"I wish people would participate at the beginning of the process," he said. "I ask if people vote, and if they don't, they have no right to complain."


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