After 38 Years, David Hahn Retires from City of Erlanger
After thirty-eight years at the City of Erlanger, Economic Development Director David Hahn is retiring.
Hahn's tenure took place under five different mayors - and his own family has deep roots with the city. Paul Hahn, David's father, served on city council for thirty-eight years, and Patricia Hahn, David's mother, is still part of the city's historical society.
In fact, the current city council chamber is named for Paul Hahn, who was instrumental in acquiring the railroad depot and caboose on display there.
David Hahn's story began in Covington where he was born before his family moved to Erlanger where he ultimately attended St, Henry District High School, then the University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University.
His career path started in the finance department at his dad's company, but when an opening at the city building was announced, Hahn applied and was hired as the assistant to the finance director on September 7, 1982.
Hahn became director of public works and code enforcement next, and spent much of his career in that role. In 2006, he thought it was time to retire, but then-Mayor Marc Otto and former City Administrator Bill Scheyer approached him about being the new economic development director.
"Dave was an outstanding codes administrator because he knew the code book inside and out and always tried to help applicants while making sure the city's best interests were protected," said Bill Scheyer. "When the position of director of economic development was created, Dave was the perfect choice because he had been involved in every city development project for years and knew everyone involved. It was a pleasure to work with Dave and to have him as a friend."
Public works became its own department, building and zoning was assigned to the fire department.
"The mayor and Bill set the framework for what they wanted to see," Hahn said. "And the emphasis was on getting out there and supporting the existing businesses, and also looking for new businesses for the storefronts on Dixie Highway. We were also looking at the Showcase Cinemas, and what could go in there."
Hahn noted that the redevelopment of the Showcase site, which now houses entities like a Coca-Cola bottling facility, as a proud achievement. He also noted his own role in creating the economic development department and creating incentives for businesses.
"It has been very satisfying, watching the department and the city grow, and knowing I had a small part in it," Hahn said. "All of the mayors I have worked with have always been very supportive, as well as the councils."
Hahn is known among fellow city employees as a quiet, hardworking person who avoids the spotlight.
"Mr. Hahn has been a tremendous asset to the City of Erlanger," said Mayor Jessica Fette. "Whether it be providing historical background on an issue, educating on current policy and procedure, or just a friendly conversation, Mr. Hahn approaches each day with a smile on his face and love in his heart. Mr. Hahn will be sorely missed; but, has assured us that he is only a phone call away."
Emi Randall was selected recently to replace Hahn. She arrives from Kenton County Planning & Development Services.
"She will fit in with the group," Hahn said. "It is complicated sometimes, and there is never a dull moment."
As for retirement, Hahn hopes to do nothing for the rest of the year. Beyond that, nothing is planned. His wife, Linda, has not yet retired.
But he does enjoy golfing and maybe one day would like to play a round in Ireland, like he did in Scotland years ago.
He also hopes to spend more time with his son, Skyler, and his parents and his in-laws.
"I think I will just sit back and relax a little," Hahn said. "I want to enjoy the weather, and do what I want. Then we will see."
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Editor's note: Patricia Scheyer was previously married to Bill Scheyer, who is quoted in this story
Photo: David Hahn (provided)