After 7½ months looking for a new town manager, the Shipshewana Town Council has found their man.
The council voted in a special session Wednesday to hire Mike Sutter of Howe to be the town manager. Sutter will start work Nov. 12.
Sutter is currently the president of the LaGrange County Regional Utility District Board, a position he will resign from Thursday evening. The district has been working with the town in the planning and construction of the Shipshewana West sewer project.
“He had a lot of questions, and a lot of the right questions for us,” Council member Jerry Rice said Wednesday. “He knows what’s expected of him and what’s expected of us.”
At the top of the list of expectations is the Shipshewana Town Center, which has been treading water after the departure of the previous management group almost a year ago. The council made it clear that Sutter will oversee the town center. “The town center is a critical issue,” Sutter said. “There needs to be more done to market it.” Sutter said some plans are already being made for the center, but couldn’t give details at this point.
Sutter has spent time as a municipal administrator, working as county administrator for Sanilac County and Wexford County, both in Michigan.
He has been on the county’s utility district board for over four years, a position that has seen its challenges, but one that he has found enjoyable. “That is one of the best boards I’ve served on,” Sutter said, noting the talent and range of expertise that serves alongside him. He added he has enjoyed seeing the professional growth in the utility district and noted that both the operations manager, Don Skinner, and district administrator, Heidi Sisco, have made it a very well run organization.
Sutter said that he is looking forward to working in a “very unique community. It is a very vibrant and growing community. I hope I can add to it,” he stated.