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Chad Johnson will head Pierce road department

He wore a tie and white shirt Tuesday night, but Pierce County Board members joked that that won't be his usual attire as they elected the county's new highway commissioner.

Chad A. Johnson, 35, a project manager for Hoffman Construction Company, Black River Falls, will replace Ross Christopherson, who retired late last year after 15 years as highway commissioner.

Johnson told the board he has worked in the field for 14 years, has experience coordinating personnel and has worked with road crews, the public and state officials.

"I'm pretty close to being a local guy," added Johnson, who grew up in Washington County, Minn., just across the river from Wisconsin.

The commissioner heads the county's Highway Department. By state law, he will work under the direction of the Highway Committee and will have charge of maintenance of county roads and construction of highways built with county aid.

Johnson, who now lives in Eau Claire, plans to move to Pierce County. His annual salary will be $68,182.

Johnson has worked for Hoffman since 2000 and recently served as project manager for the County Road A reconstruction in Lake Delton and project manager for reconstruction on a town road in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Prior to taking the job with Hoffman, he worked for Lunda Construction for three years. Before that, he was an assistant to engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for three years.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1997.

Johnson also received erosion control supervisor training and took storm water pollution prevention design courses through the University of Minnesota.

Christopherson's annual pay at the time of his retirement was $82,000.

Other finalists for the highway commissioner post were Dave Galetka, River Falls; Chris Hardy, Omro; Brian Kelley, Beldenville; Michael Legg, Shakopee, Minn.; and Brian Mattison, Turtle Lake.