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Contact: Chris Case, 906-387-2607, ext. 209
Following more than 30 years at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, John Ochman will retire on January 1, 2011. John is the longest serving employee in the 45 year history of the Lakeshore.
John began his National Park Service (NPS) career at Pictured Rocks in 1974 as a seasonal laborer working on the trails. With this involvement in the early days at Pictured Rocks, John helped to establish what is well known now as a world-class network of hiking trails.
In 1975-77, John worked seasonally at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. In 1977, John obtained his first permanent NPS position as Restoration Specialist for the Midwest Regional Office. As Restoration Specialist, he traveled to parks throughout the Midwest to assist with historic preservation and restoration projects from Great Lakes lighthouses to Presidential homes.
John returned to Pictured Rocks in 1980 as a Maintenance Supervisor. During his years at Pictured Rocks, he has been a leader in the stabilization and restoration of the 1874 Au Sable Light Station - the Lakeshore's premier historic resource. In 1980, the station had been abandoned for two decades. In 2010, the Au Sable Light Station is completely restored and in the best condition it has been in lakeshore history and perhaps in its own history.
In 2004-07, John had a split position working between Keweenaw National Historical Park and Pictured Rocks to manage the parks' Facility Maintenance Software Systems.
With his service as Regional Restoration Specialist and details to assist parks in maintenance operations, John served 23 National Parks throughout the country. In 1996, John received the Midwest Region Maintenance Employee of the Year award. In 2002 John and members of the park received the White House "Closing the Circle" Award from the Department of the Interior Office for environment leadership. This award was presented to the group at the White House.
"Over the course of his 30 years at Pictured Rocks, John has been involved in virtually every aspect of the facilities operation. His knowledge and expertise will be sorely missed. It is hard to imagine anyone who is as familiar with the details of the facilities at Pictured Rocks as John," remarked Lakeshore Superintendent Jim Northup.
John will be honored at retirement party on January 8, which will include receiving the Legacy Award in recognition of career achievement with Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
After 35 years of government service, John plans to continue his involvement with his church while having more time for his carpentry projects, enjoying the park's cross-country ski trails and spending more time with his daughter and grandson. John says that he has been truly blessed to have worked for the National Park Service and had the opportunity to preserve our nation's treasures for today's visitors and for future generations.
"We have been very fortunate to have John as part of the Pictured Rocks team, and wish John and his wife Chris many wonderful years in retirement," concluded Northup. Best wishes, John and Chris!