By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
You won’t catch soon-to-be Shinnston City Manager Travis L. Blosser in jeans. (He officially becomes city manager Jan. 1, 2015, upon the retirement of current City Manager Debra Herndon Dec. 31, 2014.)
Even in his current role as assistant city manager, the 23-year-old professional said he only owns one pair of the blue denim standard of his peers. The Fairmont native said he was encouraged to dress for success during his high school years.
A 2010 East Fairmont High School graduate and member of its marching band, Blosser said his band instructor required non-casual, non-jeans, businesslike attire while representing the group, the school and West Virginia on their road trips within and outside the state. Blosser agreed that made their band group stand out in a positive way and helped inspire his professional style today.
“I’m someone who believes in extreme professionalism,” Blosser said. “And at 23 years old in this profession, because of my age, I really have more hills to climb with people. But no one should mistake that youthfulness for weakness or immaturity. I’m all about getting business done.”
Others in Shinnston leadership agree. In addressing Blosser’s suit-and-tie style, Shinnston Mayor Sam DeMarco said it matches Blosser’s work practice. “He has a professional background and he wanted to portray the office as a professional,” DeMarco said.
But even people who are all about business have a light side, and Shinnston City Police Chief Jason Carlson said he and his officers try to help bring that side in Blosser out.
“We’re always picking on him,” Carlson said. But, he added, “Blosser’s a good sport about it.”
Blosser laughed and said their running joke with him is that he wears only loafers with tassels and not the penny-slotted ones. “They say I’m too cheap to wear penny loafers because I’m too cheap to put the pennies in.”
Blosser admits that he’s frugal in both his personal and professional lives. “Coming from the banking industry, I’m very fiscally conservative,” he said.
Carlson said Blosser is already doing a great job for the city. The police chief said he has helped in getting his own department what they need to do their jobs.
“He’s a great asset in helping rebuild the department,” Carlson said. “He helped get the equipment we needed, including two new cruisers this year.”
Carlson said Blosser’s young age is not a factor in doing his job.
“Many people can accomplish a lot, regardless of age,” Carlson said. “Blosser is good at what he does and he’s on the right track. I think he’s going to help out the community tremendously.”
Whatever Blosser decides to wear to the office for the city manager job, DeMarco said he’s confident in Blosser’s expertise and skills to get the job done effectively and efficiently. In addition to his tenure as assistant under Herndon, DeMarco said Blosser’s experience in collections especially prepared him for working in municipal management.
“He comes with a good financial background that is going to help us to keep our finances in order,” said DeMarco. “His eagerness to learn new processes and his new ideas are going to be beneficial to the future of Shinnston.”