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City of Willmar building official receives state award

WILLMAR -- In his 24 years as a building official for the city of Willmar, Randy Kardell has seen some pretty interesting things. He has also helped people out of dangerous living conditions and assisted in finding them a better place to call hom...

Randy Kardell
Randy Kardell, city building official for Willmar, inspects an addition to a home Monday in the southwest quadrant of the city. Kardell was recently named the 2015 Code Official of the Year by the Upper Great Plains Region III Educational Institute. (GARY MILLER | TRIBUNE)

WILLMAR - In his 24 years as a building official for the city of Willmar, Randy Kardell has seen some pretty interesting things.
He has also helped people out of dangerous living conditions and assisted in finding them a better place to call home.
Now his peers in the Association of Minnesota Building Officials have recognized Kardell for his hard work.
At an award ceremony Feb. 10 in Chaska, during the Upper Great Plains Region III Educational Institute, Kardell was named the 2015 Code Official of the Year.
He was granted the award for his contributions to building safety in Minnesota.
Kardell, who spent several years on the board for the association, wasn’t expecting the recognition.
“It was kind of surprising. It’s quite an honor really,” Kardell said.
Kardell joined the code enforcement business 25 years ago after working 18 years as a union carpenter.
“I came home wet and cold in the winter time and told my wife I was going to do something else,” Kardell said.
In his free time, he attended Northern Hennepin Community College to earn his degree. He worked one year before taking a job with the city of Willmar, the right decision in Kardell’s mind.
“I can still wake up in the morning and have no problem going into work,” Kardell said.
As a building official for Willmar, Kardell inspects new building projects, remodeling projects and units that are part of the rental inspection program.
“It is a lot of authority given to me through the code. I still see it as a guideline instead of a Bible,” he said.
He tries to work with the property owner to fix a problem instead of just telling them something is wrong.
“There is a way that can be done safely. Help people into safe homes. It is all part of our job, everything the building code requires,” Kardell said.
Kardell’s award is not only exciting for him but the city as well.
“It always reflects well on the department and the city,” said Bruce Peterson, Planning and Development director.
While Kardell’s official job might seem to be merely making sure someone’s residence meets code, it is actually much more than that.
“It is public safety and social work. Keeping them safe and healthy,” Peterson said.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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