By Sarah Pridgeon
Mark Viergets, resident manager of the Ranch A Education Center, will run for a seat on the County Commission at the upcoming elections. An experienced business owner and fourth generation county resident, he believes that the county should concentrate on strengthening its infrastructure to prepare for future growth.
“I was approached by several people in the community to run for the position and, after a lot of soul-searching, I decided it was time to step up and see if I could help the county out with my experience,” he says of his decision to run.
“I’ve been self employed ever since I was 18 years old. I have owned several businesses and they’ve all been successful, so I have a strong background in business management, dealing with employees, long and short term planning and budgets.”
For Viergets, serving on the County Commission would be an opportunity to maintain Crook County’s traditional values and way of life. Viergets and his wife, Annette, have six children, two of whom are still at home and go to school in Sundance.
“I’m the fourth generation of my family in this county – my children are the fifth and I’ve got grandchildren coming,” he says.
“This is home and will continue to be home, by choice, and it’s important to me to see the county values continue in the way we’re all used to.”
Viergets was raised on a ranch north of Aladdin and attended country school there, graduating from Sundance High School. He then graduated from Western Dakota Tech with a building and design degree.
“I was a building contractor for about 20 years and a commercial beekeeper for about 20 years,” he says.
“I am currently still a beekeeper, but on a smaller scale, and we run a small cattle and hay operation. My wife and I are also the facilitative managers and caretakers of the Ranch A facility south of Beulah and have been for 17 years.”
If Viergets is elected to the County Commission, his overriding goal would be to ensure that the county runs efficiently, he says, particularly in this time of growth.
“I’ve got some concerns and one of my bigger concerns is dealing with the growth that we are undoubtedly and continually going to have in this county. Part of that is our infrastructure, mainly the county roads,” he says.
“I think the guys who are doing the county roads right now are doing an excellent job with what they have to work with, but I think we’re losing the battle on the roads and my theory is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I feel that we’ve got some major issues to address with that.”
Viergets would also turn his attention to the volunteer fire department and the Crook County fair.
“My other concerns are the dated fire equipment, which I have used in the past and I feel a lot of it needs to be updated, and the fair in general,” he says.
“The fair is an issue right now and I think it’s going to continue to be an issue. I feel that right now it’s an in-limbo mess and I would like to make sure it’s handled right and that what we end up with [if the land swap occurs] is usable.”
If elected, says Viergets, he will maintain an open door policy for county residents.
“I would like to let the people of the county know that, if they have a problem, they will get my full attention in response,” he says.
“They will know where I stand on that problem.”
Viergets feels that, with his personal and business background, he is more than qualified to help manage Crook County.
“I will vow to the voters that I will, if elected, spend time with every department that I would oversee and become experienced and educated with how they are operated,” he says.
“I don’t figure that you can manage without knowing what you’re managing.”
Viergets encourages any member of the public who would like to discuss issues or ask questions to contact him in the evenings or early morning on 283-2162.