County hires new facilities chief
Donald “Dony” Sawchuk is Plumas County’s new director of facility services. Sawchuk’s first day on the job was March 5. Photo by Debra Moore
Angola. Afghanistan. Kosovo. Hawaii. Plumas County.
What do they have in common? Donald “Dony” Sawchuk worked there.
Sawchuk is Plumas County’s new director of facility services. He reported to work March 5 to oversee the maintenance of the county’s extensive holdings, which include three airports, 40 buildings and several parks, among other holdings.
The Board of Supervisors selected Sawchuk, 51, from more than a dozen applicants.
“I feel very honored,” Sawchuk said during an interview the afternoon before his first day on the job. “The competition was steep. There were lots of talented people.”
Sawchuk’s background is in construction and business, and he holds a contractor’s license in Hawaii. In addition to working for a variety of companies he also ran his own consulting business.
Sawchuk is a relative newcomer to Plumas County. He and his wife, Sheri, moved to Quincy in July 2012 when she took the position of clinic nurse supervisor for North Fork and Quincy Family Medicine.
They met in Afghanistan in 2002, where both worked for Samaritan’s Purse.
Sawchuk spent three years working for the nonprofit Christian charitable organization, which took him to dozens of countries.
“I was her boss; she was our medical director,” Sawchuk said of their initial relationship, which began with sparks and ended in marriage before they left Afghanistan.
“We built a lot of stuff over there,” Sawchuk said. During his tenure with Samaritan’s Purse, he organized the construction of several hundred homes, two hospitals, a clinic and six high schools.
In 2003 the couple moved to Hawaii and Sawchuk worked as general manager for Nakoa Builders where he managed several construction projects among other responsibilities.
After several years, the couple wanted to return to the mainland and relocated to Southern California. Sheri Sawchuk was teaching nursing at Biola University when she read about the opportunity in Quincy.
When she filed her application online, she received an almost immediate response and was asked, “Do you know where Quincy is?”
They do now and are quickly becoming part of the community. Sawchuk just became a volunteer with the Quincy Fire Department.
In a fortuitous coincidence, Sheri Sawchuk’s 32-year-old daughter and her husband and children relocated from Southern California to Reno. Weekends are often spent visiting the grandchildren.
But for the immediate future, Sawchuk is going to focus on his new job.
When asked if it might seem a little boring after the work he has done in foreign locales, Sawchuk said, “No. I don’t think so. This job will have a lot of challenges.”
One of those challenges is operating a department with a limited budget.
“Grant writing will be part of the job,” Sawchuk said and added that he has had a lot of experience writing grants.
During his work with Samaritan’s Purse, there were a lot of donations, but it was necessary to supplement those funds.
Another new challenge will be snow, which fell during his first couple of days on the job.
“There wasn’t a lot of snow in Hawaii,” Sawchuk said with a grin.