On the second floor of the Ward County Courthouse, Seth Hagen, 26, sits at a desk littered with documents, folders, binders, and even a little booklet from 1972 containing information he would like to update when he can find the time.
Thursday was his first day as Director of the Ward County Tax Equalization Office.
"My house was flooded," said Hagen, a Minot native. "I wanted to help in any way I can, whether it's swinging a hammer or using a pen." He was able to move back into his home "right before Christmas" after having to vacate it for three to four months, he said.
There are worse ways to give back to the community. His corner section of the open air office is partitioned from the rest by high half-walls. "It's technically an office, maybe more of a cubicle," he said. The large and luxurious windows certainly suggest a high-powered office, as does the very large flat-panelled computer monitor beside him.
Hagen had been working as a Project Coordinator for Minot State University, directing grant funds to give students lower level jobs related to the career path they were pursuing as a form of practical training and experience.
He's unsure how his own experience prepares him for this new job, but feels that his promise during his job interview to "work a lot harder than anyone else," might have helped land him the job. Hagen thinks he might have applied to the job listed on the county job board as a way to follow in the footsteps of his father, Greg, who is the Executive Director of the Souris Basin Planning Council, an organization responsible for "developing plans and allocating resources" for the seven county region according to its website.
His first day is to get acquainted with all his new responsibilities, which he is still figuring out. "This is what I want to get into hardcore right now," said Hagen as he flipped through housing assessments stacked on his desk. The thick files are filled with innumerable codes and numbers describing every aspect of a property that can be examined and are complete with a photo of the property and sketches of the building and grounds.
Hagen will need to know everything there is to know about housing assessments because when he completes his own training in December, all future training will be through him. "This is what I'm really going to love about my job," he said as he smiled at the documents.
Seth Hagen is a 2009 graduate of the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks, with a degree in planning and development with a focus on finance. "I had to take all those accounting classes an accountant has to take," he said.
Hagen had always intended to return home after graduation. "I loved Grand Forks, but Minot's Minot... I've got to come back."