An Intern’s Perspective of King William
County Government Operations
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog written by Micah Clark, a rising senior at Longwood University. Micah is a resident of King William County and spent five weeks this summer shadowing various departments within King William County Government. As a non-paid experience, Micah was able to receive hands-on training that blended nicely with his major at Longwood, Political Science. Here is his account of his experience in his own words:
“Last week, I concluded my internship with the King William County Public Administration Office. I am Micah Clark, a 20-year-old, lifelong resident of the county. The experience I gained from this internship is nothing short of extraordinary. Over the span of 5 weeks, I worked with the departments of: Building and Utilities, Finance, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning, and rounded it off working with the County Administrator and Deputy Clerk.
During my first week, I worked with the Building and Utilities department. Going into my first day, I was extremely nervous. I did not know what to expect nor what they expected from me. Within the first five minutes, all the nervousness was gone. That week I had the pleasure of working under Betty Brooks and Kristi Gibson. To skim the surface of what I learned, they showed me how permits for builders are distributed and how water accounts were set up. But most importantly, they showed me how important it was to work together in a cohesive unit to best get the job done. One day, I was even able to go out and do some final inspections in new houses with Matt Melton, which was fun.
The following week, I crossed the building and worked with the finance office. I was more acclimated to the building so nerves were never an issue. But it was a different realm than what I had done the week prior. Things were definitely a lot slower than what I had become used to, but they shared the same genuine goal - to put the community on the best track to grow and flourish to its fullest capabilities. I was able to shadow staff members as they paid bills and moved money from different accounts. I really gained another level of respect for those that work in this field. The level of constant focus and attentiveness needed to succeed in this department is off the charts.
My third week was definitely one where, going into it, I had no idea what to expect. Parks and Recreation was a laid-back department but one where the job would always get done and in an orderly fashion. That week I had the pleasure of working alongside Kayla Huffman and Allison Patterson. Together they have turned the program into something I never imagined. We went down to the school on multiple occasions and I cannot say that I saw a child without a smile on their face. I was able to assist with a wide range of tasks such as making recycle goodie bags for the kids, filing checks and cash into the system, and even grocery shopping for the Summer Sneaker’s end of summer picnic.
For my fourth week, I moved back to the Administration building and worked with Planning and Zoning. Gladly, I was able to go in without any nerves as I had a genuine idea of what to expect. This week really flew by. Every day it was something different. It was kind of a slow week due to the change in the house market but regardless, there is always work to be done. I was able to help customers fill out burn and land disturbance permits, saw how land gets sectioned off, and went out and inspected lawns to make sure the grass had grown in enough to protect the property from erosion. I also was lucky enough to sit in on a meeting pertaining to landowners trying to take down trees along a shoreline.
For my last week, I worked directly in the administration office. It was a very hands-on week. Monday evening, I attended the Board of Supervisors work session where we recognized the little league softball team for winning the state championship. The Board also listened to a few companies come in and pitch new software and policies to enhance our work so that the county can continue to prosper.
Throughout this internship, I learned many different lessons. The one that sticks out the most is definitely how important it is to work as a team. When projects are at task, it takes multiple departments to complete them. No one department can complete a whole project on their own; it takes the whole team. Every day it was something new - whether it was the ice cream truck coming, cleaning a closet, or going to war with ants. This experience is something I will never forget and there is no other place I would rather call home!”
Back row: Barbara Trimmer, Planning Secretary; Cindy Hixenbaugh, Facilities Coordinator; Julie Mills, Deputy Director of Financial Services; Benjamin Shumaker, Cyber Security Specialist, Micah Clark, Intern Extraordinaire; Steve Hudgins, Deputy County Administrator; Percy Ashcraft, County Administrator
Bottom row: Jeanna Wilson, Reconciliation Specialist; Alison Fox, General Registrar; Pauline Miller, Fiscal Specialist; Karena Funkhouser, Commissioner of the Revenue