APEX — The newly hired assistant town manager in Apex has been a police officer, a volunteer firefighter, a real-estate appraiser and an elected official.
Andrew Havens, 52, who most recently was the town manager of River Bend in eastern North Carolina, will begin his new job July 7. As assistant town manager, Havens will help handle Apex’s finances, planning services and more.
“I was thrilled at the opportunity,” Havens said. “I was blown away by the passion people had for local government, and I look forward to learning from Bruce (Radford) and the department heads’ experience.”
Radford, who works as the town manager, said Havens is a good fit for the job. The town received 272 applications for the position.
As part of the hiring process, candidates went through role-playing exercises and interviews to determine their ability to handle certain situations. They were judged by a group of current town managers and assistant town managers from throughout the region, along with members of the town’s human resources department.
“He finished best out of all the applicants,” Radford said of Havens. “After I talked to him, it was clear he had the education and experience necessary to be the new assistant town manager.”
Havens attended Syracuse University and went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Walden University.
Havens has 13 years of experience working with municipal government. He previously worked as the town manager in Glasgow, Va., before he took the manager job in River Bend, a town of about 3,100 people.
Before Havens began a career in public administration, he served 12 years in law enforcement and 30 years as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician.
He also served on a governing board while living in Vermont.
“I was in law enforcement while I was also a real-estate appraiser,” Havens said. “I was given the opportunity to serve in local government, and after that I knew I wanted to be able to do it for a living.”
Radford said he wasn’t surprised by the number of applicants who wanted the job.
“We sometimes get as many as 1,000 applications for these positions,” he said.
Apex has seen plenty of growth, and developers are building lots of new homes. A building boom poses challenges, Radford said, and the town is looking forward to the completion of a sewage treatment plant and upgrades to an existing water plant.
Radford said he also looks forward to Havens having a hand in helping the town grow.
“Apex is a high-growth community with a small-town feel,” Havens said. “I want to help maintain that type of community that people want, while dealing with the growth.”
Meanwhile, Havens said he’s happy to come to a bigger town.
“I look forward to serving a larger community and welcome the challenges that come with it,” he said.
Apex’s former assistant town manager, J. Michael Wilson, retired from the position in February after he was charged with driving while impaired. He worked for the town for 35 years.
Wanbaugh: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @TaylorWanbaugh