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  • David A.F. Sweet

Inspector Keeps City Buildings Running Smoothly

By David A. F. Sweet Richie Paulsen Jr. was hired in 2015 as a seasonal worker for Building Maintenance before becoming a full-time maintenance worker in 2017. This past August, he joined Community Development as a building inspector. He's not the first Paulsen to work for the City of Lake Forest; his father, Rich Sr., is the Parks supervisor. Lake Forest Love caught up with Richie recently. What are your duties as a building inspector?

Along with the other inspectors, I assure that construction, repairs, alterations and renovations are all completed to meet the applicable codes. I study the building plans daily so I can be fully prepared for each inspection that is scheduled for the day.

"There have been countless memories made," says Richie Paulsen Jr. of his years working for the City of Lake Forest. We inspect both residential and commercial projects. These projects are not just for the City of Lake Forest; we also conduct inspections for the Village of Bannockburn and Lake Bluff. We work with residents to follow up to any complaints or questions they may have. We also change the community sign boards every week at the three locations around town.

Has the role changed at all since you started?

When I started, I was shadowing current inspectors Rob Brown, Mark Rockwell and Matt Goodman. I have started to conduct bigger and more involved inspections. I am continually asking questions of my peers to further my knowledge as I am studying to complete my International Residential Code Inspector test.

What are the challenges you face as a building inspector?

They are mostly code related – for example, being able to use the code book to find the correct code while interpreting it correctly as well.

Why is this job important for city residents?

We are there to help them during various projects. We want to ensure their safety, and we do our best to ensure them that the job was done correctly.

What are some of your favorite stories you can share from your years working for the City of Lake Forest?

There have been countless memories made. Crafting award-winning chili and ribs for the cookoffs. Cleaning the rocks on top of the Gorton Center roof and remodeling the Public Safety buildings front lobbies. Most of the memorable ones are just being with a great group of coworkers, cracking jokes and laughing our way through the day.

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