Lewiston Mayor Reflects on His Time at Idaho State
Fall 2011 Issue | By Cody Bloomsburg
He doesn't have silvery hair or an elite group of commando buddies he travels around with helping people as mercenaries. He doesn't have a sweet red and black van, but Kevin Poole does have one thing in common with Hannibal Smith from the A-Team: He loves it when a plan comes together.
By day, Poole works with a team of engineers to design bridges, roads and airports all over the Inland Northwest as senior project manager for Riedesel Engineering. By night, the 1980 ISU engineering graduate works with the city council to guide the future of Lewiston, Idaho, as mayor.
"It was something I never thought I'd do moving here," he said. But two years after moving to Lewiston from Pocatello in 1994 a group came to him with the idea he'd make a good council candidate. He thought it over and decided he'd give it a shot. He served two terms, six years as mayor pro tem.
He thought he was done for good in 2004, but a different group came calling in 2009 and asked him to run again, saying some changes needed to be made.
Poole agreed. He wasn't happy with the direction the council was heading in his absence, so he ran again. Once elected, the council voted him in as mayor. His term as mayor will end in 2012, but he will be on the council until 2014. He hasn't decided if he will run again.
"Switching from construction schematics to budget sheets at the end of the day isn't that big of a change," he said. "It's all planning.
"That's a lot of what engineering is, planning for the future and then trying to fit your designs to future growth to meet your needs," he said.
Emergency services, police, water, sewer, basically all key departments look five years ahead in budgeting and even further out for strategic planning.
He wasn't in student government in college. He's not a politico, just a guy who worked for the first 25 years on the shovel side of the business and after getting an MBA from ISU in 1989, started moving toward the paper side of things.
His favorite memories from ISU are the bands he caught at Holt Arena - Foghat, ZZ Top, Crosby Stills and Nash - watching the basketball team beat UCLA, and the year the football team won the NCAA Division II Championship.
But Poole got more than degrees, concert and sports memories from ISU. He got a wife and family.
He met his wife Grace in Holt Arena during their freshman orientation in 1975. In the beginning, they dated each other's roommates, not each other.
But in the summer of 1977, he ran into her in Idaho Falls while he was working on a construction project. They married the next spring. Their oldest daughter, Amelia, is a senior at the University of Idaho and their youngest, Erin, just graduated from Lewiston High School and also plans to attend UI in the fall.
"I couldn't convince them that they needed to be Bengals," Poole said. "But anything but a Bronco. I finally took the tact 'anything but a Bronco.'"