By MARGIE NETZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org
He looked to the right, he looked to the left, but Evan Jahn knew someone had some explaining to do.
Jahn, 41, who is the site manager of the Waste Management Geneva Landfill, is also Geneva’s 2012 Citizen of the Year.
“I was very surprised and a little emotional when I was awarded citizen of the year,” Jahn said. “It was truly an honor and it really was a great feeling to be recognized for the award.”
The award is kept top secret until the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual year end dinner.
“I would have to give kudos to my wife Keri and my four daughters who knew about it for some time and kept it a secret,” Jahn said.
Jahn began his career at the landfill in 1986, when he was just 14 years old, with the expectation of spreading grass seed.
“I was approached by Jack Doherty, previous owner of the Geneva Landfill, about coming to work for a couple of weeks to help plant grass and spread mulch,” he said. “At this time, I was 14 years young. The couple of weeks eventually turned into years, and this will be my 27th year of being employed at the Geneva Landfill.”
Jahn graduated from Geneva High School in 1990, and his education at the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus gave him the skills to weld Dumpsters and run heavy equipment.
Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Sue Ellen Foote said Jahn was raised with a strong work ethic.
“Even at the early age of 8 years old, he would take on odd jobs as a way to make money. Summers were spent mowing lawns and winters were spent shoveling snow,” she said.
All those years at the landfill have been good to Jahn.
“I have a great job and really enjoy going to work every day,” he said. “Each day is different — we are faced with challenges, but with great employees the challenges just turns into another day of work. I am fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of people and to work for a company that supports its community.”
Jahn is a long-time member of the Geneva Rotary Club, where he has served as Sergeant of Arms and is now serving as club president. He also helps organize Run for the Grapes during the Grape Jamboree.
Jahn has been a board member for the chamber since 2007, Foote said.
“He can be seen working at most chamber functions in some capacity,” she said. “Many hours are spent working on behalf of the annual Chinese Auction, which is the main fundraising event for the chamber — generating funds for scholarships awarded to graduating seniors from Geneva High School.”
Jahn is also key in obtaining funds and donations from Waste Management for community projects, Foote said.
Jahn is also a local athletic coach. He has been involved with scouting programs, helping scouts with merit awards and other levels of achievement.
Jahn is husband to wife Keri Jahn and father to their four daughters: Deidre Jahn, 20; Alexis Jahn, 10; Raegan Jahn, 8; and Makenna Jahn, 7.
Deidre Jahn is a nursing student at Kent State Ashtabula. Alexis, Raegan and Makenna attend Geneva Platt R. Spencer Elementary.
Keri Jahn is an employee of King Luminaire in Jefferson.
Life isn’t all about landfills for Jahn, who said he likes to spend all his free time with his family.
“We like to fish on Lake Erie, ride four-wheelers and go camping,” he said. “My family is my inspiration, they are what keeps me going. I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful wife and children.”