Weitz new county's HR director, happy to be back in Wisconsin
Ray Weitz was the steward for the AFSCME unit of UW-Oshkosh in the late 1980’s when his life changed.
Sitting across the table from what he described as an “autocratic” custodial supervisor during labor negotiations, Weitz knew what his next career would be.
“What I learned was not how to treat people,” he said. “Treat people with dignity and respect, even if you disagree.”
With that in mind, Weitz went back to college at age 28 and got a bachelor’s in sociology and a master’s in public administration, which launched his career in Human Resources.
His 20-year career has led him to stops in New Mexico, Mississippi and Pennsylvania before coming back to Wisconsin, where he started last week as Pierce County’s Director of Human Resources.
The Wisconsin native is ecstatic to be back working in his home state for the first time since 2003. He remarked about it when driving here for his interview earlier this year.
“Driving down Hwy. 10 at 35 miles per hour with the roads being glare ice, I thought ‘This is the farmland and place I remember’,” he said. “The quality of life, the farmland, the fresh, clean water. There is nothing like Wisconsin for me.”
Another reason Weitz is excited to be back in Wisconsin: his wife Barbara has stayed in Wisconsin, working for a factory in Stevens Point, while Weitz bounced around the country. The couple recently celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary and are the parents of Megan, who is married and lives in Rochester, Minn.
“(She) has made our marriage successful,” Weitz said. “I use to only come home for Christmas and once during the summer (when he worked out-of-state).” Weitz currently rents in Ellsworth, but will be commuting to Stevens Point on weekends.
Weitz succeeds Sandy Langer, who retired at the end of 2013. Between Langer’s departure and Weitz’s arrival, the county board approved a revision of the job description. Weitz will now manage interviewing and screening qualified applicants for positions at all levels, assist and advise supervisors on interviewing and selection processes for department heads. Previously, supervisors participated in all hirings.
“Human Resource jobs have never been about ego or power for me,” he said. “It’s about working with people and doing what’s right for the organization.”