Polson gets new city commissioner
Caleb M. Soptelean
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POLSON – Polson has a new city commissioner.
Bob Martin was appointed by the commission on July 31 to replace Jill Southerland, who resigned and moved out of the area.
Martin, 72, is a Swan Lake native and Bigfork High School graduate who served over 30 years in the Army Corps of Engineers and retired as a colonel in 1998. After that he worked for Weyerhaeuser for 11 years. His work history includes an extensive background in management.
While in the Army Corps of Engineers, Martin served in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Korea managing troop combat units, construction agencies and was deputy commander chief of staff for the South Atlantic Division that ranged from Virginia to South America. Helping build a dam in Puerto Rico was one of his many projects.
While at Weyerhaeuser, he worked as a senior project manager, general manager and director of construction and spent the last four years of his professional career in China working as director of development with a home building company in the Shanghai area.
He was also an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Mines for three years and director of the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for four years.
Martin said Southerland and others encouraged him to run for the office. He was the only candidate who filed for her open seat in November, so when she resigned he was appointed to fill the position.
Martin believes the city is headed in the right direction, but has its challenges.
“Polson is starting to grow,” he said. “We’re going to be real busy in the near future.”
He believes for example, the city will have a challenge funding street and utility projects.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of challenges,” he said. “I like to stay busy.”
Martin has no axes to grind. “I just want to see the city progress,” he said.
He and his wife Mary own a home and timberland in the upper Swan Lake Valley. He spends his free time there and also golfs and sails. He has been on the board of directors of the Mission Bay Homeowners Association for more than four years.