Highlands Ranch Metro District begins search for new general manager

The current manager has held the position for 24 years

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The Highlands Ranch Metro District is beginning its search for a new general manager after the current staff leader announced his retirement.

General Manager Terry Nolan announced his decision to leave the metro district in the spring and expects to have his last day sometime before the end of the year, he said.

“It’s a difficult decision; this is just a great organization,” he said. “I have a lot of pride in what we do here.”

Nolan celebrated his 24th anniversary with HRMD in March of this year. 

“He’s just done a wonderful job,” board Chairman Mark Dickerson said. “I’m sorry to see Terry go.”

Dickerson and the rest of the metro district’s board of directors are charged with selecting Nolan’s replacement. They hope to have filled the position by Thanksgiving, Dickerson said.

The general manager, who directs the 85-person staff, is also responsible for educating the volunteer board of directors on different issues and making recommendations for their decisions.

“You need to be really good at explaining everything we’re up to and providing them with great information so they can make good decisions,” Nolan said. 

The general manager also communicates with the public and coordinates with the metro district’s partners, such as the county.

In a July 28 metro district meeting, the directors approved the salary plan for the position. The current range has a minimum annual compensation of $132,037 and a maximum of $211,259. The proposed range for the new hire has a 15.8% higher midpoint, according to a staff presentation during the meeting. The new range has a minimum salary of $152,849 and a maximum of $244,558.

The increase in range was based on a recommendation from Employers Council, a professional services firm in Denver consulted by the metro district.

“It’s an important hire to say the least,” Dickerson said, “The community must move forward and it starts with the metro district. So we’ve got to get this right.”

When Nolan started the job in 1996, it was soon after spending 26 years in the U.S. Navy.

“I had leadership experience early in my Navy career. ... I felt like I belonged in a leadership position,” he said.

Throughout his years in Highlands Ranch, Nolan has watched the metro district grow and change significantly.

“When I came here in 1996, we had 10 parks. Now we have 26,” he said. “The job has changed quite a bit. In the early years it was mostly focused on building infrastructure, and now, we’re more focused on providing great services.”

Back then, Highlands Ranch had about 33,000 residents; now the population is closer to 100,000, he said. 

Once a candidate is hired, Nolan will spend about a month training the new manager, he said. Then, he plans to use his free time to volunteer with various organizations, including the Highlands Ranch Mansion, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and an organization that teaches life lessons to kids through golf. 

“I really believe in serving,” he said. “And this position has been in service to the community of Highlands Ranch.”

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