Pennsylvanian to take reins of Routt County Regional Building Department | CraigDailyPress.com

Pennsylvanian to take reins of Routt County Regional Building Department

Tom Ross

— After six months of searching, Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan has found his new chief building department official in Pennsylvania.

Sullivan confirmed Monday that Ben Grush, 60, currently the chief inspector with the Cambria County Building Code Enforcement Agency, has accepted the post. He said Grush has 25 years of experience in the field, including a period when he ran his own plumbing and heating contracting business.

The Cambria County building department provides services to 42 of the total 63 municipalities in the county, which had a population of 143,679 as of the 2010 census.

"We're looking forward to having somebody who has his kind of experience, with a lot of commercial work," Sullivan said.

The area where Grush works is about three hours southeast of Pittsburgh, Sullivan said. The largest city is Johnstown.

Steamboat Springs City Manager Deb Hinsvark and building contractor Mark Halvorson, of the Yampa Valley Construction Trades Association, took part in the interviews of four candidates for the job.

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Grush said Monday that he takes special pride in two college buildings where he did inspections, including a $25 million convocation center with a basketball arena and a $20 million state-of-the-art academic science building at St. Francis University involving elaborate mechanical systems for the chemistry and physics labs.

"I just love projects like that," Grush said, "and I love fascinating homes, too. It seems to me that my whole life I've loved old buildings."

He also did plan reviews and presentations to the planning commission on a $12 million, 149-unit, eight-story apartment building for people ages 55 and older.

Although Grush and two other inspectors were able to cover 42 municipalities, that was due largely to the fact that most of those communities have populations of 1,500 to 1,800.

Grush said Monday that he visited family in South Routt twice in the 1980s and skied at Steamboat Ski Area, so he already had a feel for the area when he came to Steamboat for an interview this month. And when he begins working at the Routt County Courthouse on Oct. 13, he'll be closer to two brothers living in Longmont and Tinmath.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1