COEUR d'ALENE - Dean Haagenson says he has no hidden agenda in running for a seat on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees.
"I think North Idaho College is a real jewel that we don't always fully appreciate," Haagenson said. "I'd just like to be part of continuing that record of excellence."
Haagenson, 70, is running for election to NIC board Seat C now held by Ron Vieselmeyer, who is not seeking re-election.
A longtime proponent of professional-technical education, Haagenson said he's naturally interested in maintaining those programs at the college.
"But unlike some, I also believe serving the academic transfer students is a primary responsibility," Haagenson said.
He is no stranger to holding public office, having served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1983 to 1990.
In light of recent state budget cuts for higher education, Haagenson said maintaining fair and proper balance among the college's main revenue sources is crucial. The bulk of NIC's funding comes from a state appropriation, local property taxes and student tuition.
"Facilities are also going to be a major issue for the college considering the way the student count has grown," Haagenson said. "I think with my construction background, I can help with that."
Haagenson has lived in Kootenai County for 36 years. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho.
He is chairman of the board of Contractors Northwest, a Coeur d'Alene-based building construction company Haagenson co-founded in 1975.
"I recognize fully that a public institution is not a business, but having a business background is an important thing," Haagenson said. "I think my 37-year career will serve me well in analyzing those budgets."
Haagenson said he has time to dedicate to the NIC board because he's stepping back from full-time work.
He also served on the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce's board of directors and has been on the chamber's public policy committee for several years. Through the years, he has served on boards and committees connected with construction industry associations.
Haagenson was on the governing board of KTEC and participated in the founding efforts to open the new public professional-technical high school. He resigned from the KTEC board after his company was selected, through a competitive bidding process, to build the school that opened last month. Haagenson was one of the private sector contributors that paid for some of the land where the school is located.
He has served on the local Workforce Development Task Force and served by appointment of the governor on the Idaho Workforce Council. He served on NIC's Long Range Planning Commitee last year.