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Washington County employee named Md. Inspector of the Year

Gaver focuses on public safety

February 13, 2012|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • Richard "Rich" Gaver, right, discusses a renovation project at McDonald's on Maugans Avenue with Max Construction Co. Superintendent Don Trkula. Gaver, combination inspector in the Division of Public Works Department of Engineering and Construction in Washington County, was selected as Inspector of the Year on Dec. 1, 2011, by the Maryland Building Officials Association.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Richard "Rich" Gaver has lived in Funkstown his entire life. Many in the community know him for the work he does on the Funkstown Town Council and for his involvement with the town’s Olde Tyme Christmas and Day in the Park.

He admits he likes to keep busy and isn’t one to sit around. That’s why Gaver likes his work as an inspector for Washington County.

“It’s different every day because every job is different,” Gaver said.

Gaver, 51, has worked in the electrical field since he was 16. Before taking a job with Washington County 15 years ago, he worked as a master electrician, getting his start in the field from the former Washington County Vo-Tech, graduating in 1978. He also attended South Hagerstown High School.

Gaver was hired as an electrical inspector with Washington County. He is now one of 10 building, mechanical and electrical inspectors, having taken on added responsibilities recently.

“An opening came up. It was a good opportunity. I love it,” said Gaver, whose title is combination inspector in the Division of Public Works Department of Engineering and Construction.

He said he spent some time volunteering for the fire department when he was younger and liked the connection between the two roles.

“They’re similar. It’s life safety. I’m not out there putting out fires, but I’m trying to prevent them before they start. It’s all about public safety,” Gaver said.

Gaver’s commitment to the job was recognized when he was selected as Inspector of the Year on Dec. 1, 2011, by the Maryland Building Officials Association, or MBOA, at the organization’s annual conference and training event in Marriottsville, Md.

“I was totally surprised. I had no idea I was even up for (the award),” Gaver said.

He said MBOA hands out one award a year out of 23 jurisdictions for three positions — inspector, permit technician and plans examiner.

Gaver has earned several certifications for his job and maintains those certifications with additional training to keep up-to-date in the field.

He likes passing that information on, both to contractors and to students he teaches at Frederick (Md.) Community College, which is different than the experience he had starting out in the field. He also has worked part time at Lowe’s.

“When I was coming up through the trades, the older guys didn’t want to share information because that was job security,” Gaver said.

Still, the badge that makes him the most proud is that of Eagle Scout.

He earned it in the 1970s while a Boy Scout with a troop in Funkstown that no longer exists. Gaver’s next goal is to get a new Boy Scout troop started in Funkstown.

“I always have a few irons in the fire,” Gaver said.

He said he learned his work ethic — “show up early, stay late” — from his father, who worked for Hagerstown Paint and Glass for 40 years.

Gaver and his wife, Rosemary, have been married almost 26 years. They have two grown sons and one grandson.

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