Thursday was Tim Bachman’s last day as the city’s Development Services Director, and after being honored with pomp and circumstance by city leaders, Bachman first recognized his colleagues.
After asking everyone who has worked for the city, served on a board, or been elected to council to raise their hand, he said, “You all are here and you all make Fairfield better in just the little bit that we do and the pieces we do every day.”
Though Bachman, 54, will deflect any credit to others, many have said he’s been one of the primary people over the past three decades who’s had a large hand in shaping the city.
He’s taking his skills and knowledge to REDI Cincinnati, an economic development organization designed to help attract new businesses to the region.
As Development Services Director for all but two of his 31-plus years with Fairfield, Bachman was heavily involved in some of the key city landmarks. One of the most notable projects was development of Village Green Park and Amphitheater, which former City Manager Art Pizzano said demonstrated Bachman’s ability to “execute a vision.”
But Bachman’s vision wasn’t his only asset, said Pizzano, a former planner himself before being hired as Fairfield’s city manager in the late 1990s.
“He was also able to provide a level of flexibility as the needs of the city changed over his 31-year tenure,” he said.
That included enhancements of property maintaining and “able to turn the corner quickly and modify his internal staffing” as the city transitioned from a growing community to a community that needed to maintain its infrastructure, neighborhoods, and retain and grow the city’s business community.
Fairfield’s business sector has grown and prospered over the past three decades, and that’s in large part to Bachman, said Fairfield Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kert Radel.
“He’s been the real catalyst in making the projects go,” Radel said, specifically highlighting landing Western States Manufacturing Company when the business was moving out of Hamilton. “Everything that you see in Fairfield has a stamp of Tim Bachman as part of that. He’s not the sole gentleman who’s done that, it’s been a team effort, but he’s been part of that effort of having new projects here in Fairfield.”
Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller said he’s seen first-hand for the past 20 years what Bachman’s done. While the Community Arts Center, known as the “crown jewel” by many in the city, is one of Bachman’s most visible projects, Miller said the work he did to bring Veritiv and the company’s 400-plus jobs to the city will also have a lasting impact.
“He did outstanding work to make that come together, and he’s been like that the whole 20 years I’ve known him,” he said. “He can work with people and get things done.”
And whomever City Manager Mark Wendling hires to succeed Bachman in leading the Development Services Department, Miller said he hopes it’s a person who has some of Bachman’s qualities.
“You need a people-person that understands economic development, but most importantly how do develop relationships and how to get to know people so you can get things done,” Miller said. “Everything revolves around relationships and Tim got that.”
Until a successor to Bachman is hired, Economic Development Manager Greg Kathman has been tapped to lead the department.