Elizabeth area ‘farm girl’ who plowed snow for MnDOT, now heads department
Otter Tail County is pleased to announce the hiring of Cristi Field as Highway Maintenance Supervisor. Field will fill the position of former Supervisor Rick Hoium, who retired after seven years with the Highway Department. Charles Grotte, County Engineer, expressed, “We are very happy that Cristi Field has accepted this promotion to the Highway Maintenance Supervisor position. It is always nice to see good people move up in the organization and take on greater responsibilities. I am confident that Cristi will do a great job in her new role.”
Field grew up on a dairy farm near Elizabeth and has since lived in Otter Tail County. She was raised driving tractors and loves working outdoors. Driving heavy equipment is something she has always enjoyed. “When I was a little girl, even my Barbies had trucks and tractors to drive,” said Field. She earned her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) as soon as she was able at the required age of 21 and began her career in road maintenance and construction with a local company. After ten years driving heavy equipment, she took a position with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) as a snowplow driver. During her fourteen years with MNDOT she plowed primarily on Interstate-94 for District 4. “I still love to plow snow,” she added.
Field has worked for Otter Tail County Highway Maintenance Department for five years, two years as a group leader and over one year as the Assistant Maintenance Supervisor. The maintenance department is responsible for county highway repairs, and maintenance projects such as paving patches of road, mowing ditches and plowing snow. She really enjoys her work for the county and says, “We are like a family. We support each other. We have a wonderful crew with many diverse talents.”
Field is a trailblazer in her profession. When she moved from her career at MNDOT there were only a few women snowplow drivers statewide and no women at the county on the highway maintenance team. She said she has been realistic about gender double standards but not negative. She has taken the initiative to learn all she can and takes one day at time while asking questions and soaking up information.
As the new supervisor she plans to work to achieve the goals set by the Public Works Division leadership and long-range transportation planning. She will lead a department with one assistant, three area group leaders with full-time and seasonal employees. She plans to work to create more efficiencies and enrich teamwork and communications among the area crews. “I look forward to mentoring young people as they enter this field. Otter Tail County hires summer laborer positions that do not require a CDL so students can give the work a try to see if they like it.”