RED WING -- Despite the pandemic, Randal Hemmerlin will be leaving the Red Wing Housing and Redevelopment Authority in a strong state.

Hemmerlin moved to Red Wing in 2006 to direct the HRA. Now about 14 years later he is ready to retire.

“I'm turning 66 years old here in February. That means it just gets to be that point where sometime along the way here, you feel like it's time to retire,” Hemmerlin stated.

The HRA's work affects many people throughout the community. Corrine Stockwell worked with Hemmerlin at the HRA and will step in as interim director beginning Feb. 1.

“Randal is one of those once-in-a-lifetime bosses. He treated all staff as though we were all equal. We all had a voice. He willingly accepted ideas staff had to make improvements or change the way we did things," she said. "I see Randal as a mentor. Someone who wants to guide all staff to be the best they can be. Even if that meant someone left the agency to work somewhere else."

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Erin Buss is the City Council liaison for the HRA. She said of Hemmerlin, “working with Randal has been such a wonderful experience. He is incredibly knowledgeable about housing and his work in this area has created a positive and enduring impact on our community. Randal is also one of the kindest people I know. We’re going to miss him.”

Hemmerlin was always busy with his Red Wing-based projects but that did not stop him from working with other communities. The HRA director works with the National Association of Housing Redevelopment Officials and served as the state president from 2013 to 2015 and then the vice president of international research and global exchange from 2017 to 2019.

“I hope that by being involved in those things we bring back good ideas that we could share with Red Wing and make it make it better, a better community for everybody,” Hemmerlin said.

While the pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of life in the community, Hemmerlin is optimistic about the city’s outlook saying, “I think that the future for Red Wing is fabulous. It's just got so much going for it."