By Shannon Johnson
Recently the responsibility of maintaining the public parks was turned over from the City of Baker to Fallon County. The city and county are unable to transfer employment, which meant that the county was on the search to fill the position of the Parks Department Manager.
Robbie Christiaens, the former assistant manager of the Parks Department, was hired into the position. He finished his last day with the City of Baker on March 8, and took over his new position for Fallon County on March 11.
Christiaens was born and brought up in western Montana in the town of Valier. “I grew up working construction and farm and ranch,” Christiaens elaborated. “I had a lawn mowing business from the time I was in kindergarten through high school.” He began college at Dawson on a basketball scholarship to pursue a career in teaching. After Dawson he also attended the University of Montana and Montana Western.
He completed his student teaching in Centerville, Montana where he was also the head junior high and high school girls’ basketball coach.
Christiaens moved to Baker and started doing construction work. “My stepdad was down here doing some roofing and they needed some help, so they called me up and I came down here,” he explained. “I ended up staying here helping a guy and then I met my wife.” Christiaens and his wife, Rachelle, have a daughter, Piper.
Christiaens was hired as the assistant parks’ manager about two years ago with hopes of becoming the manager at some point, although he didn’t anticipate that it would happen so quickly. “I was very excited. When I started, my next goal was eventually to become head, but I didn’t realize it would happen this quickly,” he said. “I thought it would be ten years or so down the line not two years, but I’m excited.”
“I like being outside and working and running the equipment and everything,” said Christiaens. “I wanted a decent job where I can be home at night.”
Having been the assistant manager, Christiaens already had all the training and certifications he needs to have for the job. After the last manager left his position, Christiaens began filling in in the manager position under the city before the county officially took over. “Everything’s basically the same other than I’m now employed through the county instead of the city,” he smiled.