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On the move in 2007

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Posted: Friday, January 5, 2007 10:00 pm

Wiqar Shah

Age: 27

Family: Wife, Tamanna Ahmad. Son, 25 months, Waqas Shah.

What he does: Executive vice president of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club, in charge of operations. Since January 2006, Shah has been making sure that the seven full-time and 15 part-time staffers have the means to do the activities they dream up, from sports leagues to after-school programs to video games and Legos.

Background: Shah lived in Pakistan until age 12 when he moved with family to Lodi. He attended Heritage, Lodi Middle and Lodi High Schools. He also took classes at San Joaquin Delta College, and earned a degree in finance from California State University, Sacramento. Commuting each day took its toll, and now Shah says he couldn't think about living anywhere but Lodi.

His pastimes these days involve the Xbox 360 game "NBA Live" and watching the local basketball league play. He drops in to play racquetball over at Twin Arbors, and there's always bowling in Stockton.

His goals for 2007: Restarting an after-school career prep program for teens is something Shah looks forward to with excitement. After all, Club president Richard Jones hired him on with a similar Boys and Girls Club "junior staff" program in 1996. It was Shah's second job �" his first was at age 13, slinging papers as a News-Sentinel carrier. Now, Shah said he hopes to keep as many middle school youth off the streets and involved in something positive.

What others say about him: Easy to get along with and humorous and very hard working.

Quote: "If you can help them, put them on the right track in middle school, they'll be on the right track in high school, and the rest of their life."

Michael Perry

Age: 53

What he does: In December, Perry replaced Kelly Mettler as manager of the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center.

Michael Perry, manager of the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center, looks forward to creating an enjoyable experience for wine visitors and tourists to "Livable, Lovable Lodi." (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

Background: Perry received his bachelor's degree from California State University, Hayward, now CSU East Bay, in kinesiology. He taught physical education and coached basketball in Livermore for about five years before moving into the wine industry. He began his wine career in 1981 managing retail sales for Wente Vineyards. He has also served as executive director of the Santa Barbara Winegrowers Association, opened the Ridge Winery tasting room in Sonoma and managed the visitor center for Franciscan Winery in Napa.

What people say about him: Colleagues say Perry is passionate about wine. So passionate, in fact, that he won't admit to having a favorite. "There's a wide variety of wines out there and I don't think one should limit oneself to just a single type. I like everything from cabernet to zinfandel to sparkling wines."

His goals for 2007: Perry's goal for 2007 is to provide a customer experience in Lodi that is second to none. He wants to ensure visitors enjoy themselves, while also learning about the history of Lodi's wine growing community.

Quote: "The amount of Lodi grapes being used outside the region to make wine speaks loads for the quality of the fruit grown here."

Lt. Bryan Noblett

Age: 43

Lodi Police Department Lt. Bryan Noblett works in the Investigations Division. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

Family: Wife of 18 years, Sheri; son, Dylan, who turns 16 this month; twin 10-year-old daughters, Marina and Natalie

What he does: Noblett has been a Lodi police officer since February 1985 and is currently a lieutenant charged with overseeing the investigations unit, as well as training, internal affairs and background investigations. He was selected to attend the FBI's national academy in April.

Background: Born and raised in Sacramento, Noblett was attending California State University, Sacramento, with plans to pursue a career in law when a classmate mentioned that he was testing for a job with the Lodi Police Department. It sounded interesting so Noblett applied, and he was hired at age 21. It was only his second job; he'd previously worked five years at Lucky's grocery store. He later finished a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and has since returned to school, currently in his second year at Chapman University. He takes night classes in Modesto and Roseville and will finish his master's degree in organizational leadership next year.

Noblett is an avid golfer and though he no longer runs long races, still jogs regularly. He shares Kings season tickets with Capt. David Main and has collected all three years' worth of Kings bobble-head dolls that were sold by a fast food chain. He can quote entire "Seinfeld" episodes and sometimes uses them in training classes �" they lend some humor, he said, and there seems to be an episode that fits every occasion.

What people say about him: Fellow officers named him officer of the year in 1995. Main says of him: "Some are good managers, some are good leaders. He excels at both."

His goals for 2007: To complete the 10-week FBI academy, which counts as 17 units of course work through the University of Virginia. The training includes physical fitness as well as various law enforcement techniques, and he hopes to bring new ideas back to Lodi. Noblett also wants to be more actively involved in Lodi House, something he hasn't had as much time for because of work and school.

Quote: "My job has evolved more into developing future leaders �" that's where I get my greatest joy."

Kathi McClelland laughs about all the bizarre things that sometimes get donated to the Building Blocks Warehouse. (Brian Feulner/News-Sentinel)

Kathi McClelland

Family: Husband, Jim; children, Rocky, 10, Makayla, 12, Lizzie, 16, Kerri, 18, Cori, 24, Joshua, 27.

What she does: Kathi and her husband are directors of Building Blocks, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Century Assembly Church. Kathi works at the food bank on Stockton Street, where about 400 boxes of food are given to families in need each month.

Background: Kathi was raised in a Freewill Baptist family, ministering to people in the country. She and her husband have lived in Lodi almost 13 years. Jim is pastor of New Hope Freewill Baptist Church.

What people say about her: She's unpredictable. She wanted to do a home makeover for someone last year, and her volunteers thought she was joking. But, they did it. People tell her to lighten up, but she says they've got to get the job done.

Her goals for 2007: Kathi wants to do more community improvement, starting in the spring; have a weeklong children's summer day camp; have a 5k run followed by an Easter egg hunt; have nutrition classes for families in need; organize the warehouse; have a health fair in March; and reach out to more people.

Quote: "The word faith is a big thing in my life. … But God hasn't let me down yet."

Dave Kirsten

Age: 52

Dave Kirsten sits in his office in downtown Lodi. (Angelina Gervasi/News-Sentinel)

Family: Wife of 28 years, Patty. They were high-school sweethearts. Son Mark, 23; daughter Carolyn, 20.

What he does: Kirsten sells dried beans and peas in the commodity market and owns four pieces of property in downtown Lodi.

Background: Kirsten grew up in Stockton, graduated from Lincoln High School. He got into the commodities business in 1977 and started his own company in 2002. He imports and exports worldwide. Kirsten serves on the city of Lodi's Budget and Finance Committee and was City Councilman Larry Hansen's campaign manager last year and campaigned for Mayor Bob Johnson two years ago. Kirsten may run for City Council himself in about a decade.

Kirsten has a passion for flying his private plane into remote areas of Idaho to go flyfishing and get away from the pressures of work.

What people say about him: Friends and colleagues describe Kirsten as a very good businessman who is "very, very pro-downtown," is incredibly bright, a quick learner, a good sounding board and has a tremendous energy level. He has a sense of humor that is so deadpan that sometimes you have to figure out if he's pulling your leg.

His goals for 2007: Kirsten is working hard to develop a new downtown benefit group, this one based on property owners rather than the current Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, which consists of business owners, whether or not they own the store or office space. He also wants to address crime in downtown Lodi.

Quote: "The Budget Finance Committee has been very educational. It is essentially night school."

Tim Stevenson

Age: 47

Tim Stevenson talks about being a pastor at Horizon Community Church Thursday morning in Galt. (Brian Feulner/News-Sentinel)

Family: Wife of 22 years, Gwen; daughter Stephanie, 21; sons Justin, 19, and Micah, 16.

What he does: Stevenson is senior pastor at Horizon Community Church, a Baptist congregation in Galt.

Background: Raised in north Stockton, Stevenson graduated from Tokay High School in 1977, attended San Joaquin Delta College and obtained an architecture degree at California State University, Fresno. He was chaplain of the University of the Pacific's football team from 1991 to 1996 before becoming pastor at Horizon later in 1996. He is also a Galt police chaplain.

Stevenson has an unorthodox preaching style. He'll wear a black Harley Davidson shirt and denim cutoffs, but take off his shoes at the pulpit. He preaches in everyday language �" sometimes quite colorfully �" and he challenges people to make a difference in their lives and their community. He wants his congregation to walk into church and feel like it's their home.

Stevenson enjoys riding motorcycles, working out at the gym and welding.

What people say about him: Friends say he sometimes goes for shock value in his sermons to make an impact. He is passionate about Jesus and has a huge heart.

"He doesn't pull any punches," said Mary Sanders, a Lutheran pastor in Galt. "He doesn't pretend to be anybody he's not."

His goals for 2007: Stevenson will focus on challenging people to make the most of the second half of their lives.

Stevenson also hopes to begin construction on a $4 million, 18,000-square-foot building to house a multipurpose room, classrooms and preschools, then expand the sanctuary in the current building by 150 seats.

Quote: "You may not like what I have to say �" that's OK. I figure if I haven't pissed somebody off, I'm not doing my job."

Robin Knowlton

Age: 54

Family: Husband, Stefan Sekula; son, Nathaniel Sekula, 16.

Robin Knowlton, of the Knowlton Gallery, has great plans for 2007. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

What she does: Knowlton is the founder and manager of the Knowlton Gallery in downtown Lodi that emphasizes art work of the Central Valley.

Background: A graduate of University of California, Davis, Knowlton took art classes whenever she wasn't working toward her zoology degree in animal behavior. Before opening the gallery in October of 2005, she worked in marketing and public relations. Always an admirer and owner of unique art work, Knowlton wanted to offer local artists a chance to hold shows in a high-end gallery, as well as bring an appreciation for art to Lodi that she says is not exactly known as an art Mecca.

What people say about her: Lodi City Councilman Larry Hansen credits Knowlton for promoting programs and projects that, otherwise, the city would not have. Not only is he impressed with her approach to the gallery and her success in bringing artists to Lodi, Hansen says she cares for Lodi and her views bring new perspectives to issues such as city growth.

Her goals for 2007: Knowlton wants to sell more art, bring more people to the gallery, raising awareness and understanding that art from the Central Valley is just as admirable as other famed work. Through classes taught by established artists, gallery talks for the public and private gallery dinners, Knowlton will continue to infuse Lodi and surrounding cities with locally made artwork.

Peter Pirnejad

Age: 36

Peter Pirnejad, planning manager for Lodi City Hall, poses in his office for a portrait. (Whitney Ramirez/News-Sentinel)

Family: Wife, Rozalin; sons, Jacob, 3; Jonah, 1.

What he does: Pirnejad became planning manager for the city of Lodi in October 2005.

Background: Born in Iran, Pirnejad's family immigrated to the United States when he was two years old. He spent most of his life in Southern California, where he earned his bachelor's degree in geography and environmental studies. He went on to receive his masters degree in urban planning from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has spent 10 years in urban planning, working for cities like Selma, West Lake Village and Vernon.

What people say about him: Friends and colleagues say Pirnejad works tenaciously on projects, but does slow down to have fun sometimes. He is also an avid cyclist, competing in about 15 cycling races annually. His most difficult cycle was a 140-mile ride to South Lake Tahoe last year with City Attorney Stephen Schwaubauer. The trip took about 9 hours, Pirnejad said.

His goals for 2007: Peter will be working on several large city projects this year. The three he is most excited about are making progress on the General Plan update, completing the environmental report for the proposed the San Joaquin Delta College Lodi campus and beginning the Transit Oriented Development Project downtown.

Quote: "It helps that I really enjoy my job. It makes for a really easy day, even with a lot of projects to complete."

Andrew Meredith

Age: 26

Galt Vice Mayor Andrew Meredith stands in Galt late Friday before speaking to some locals in their homes. (Angelina Gervasi/News-Sentinel)

Family: Wife, Serena; daughters, Kaylee, 5, Lauryn, 2; son due in May

What he does: Meredith won a seat on the Galt City Council in November and was elected vice mayor by the council.

Background: Meredith moved to Galt in 5th grade from Rancho Cordova. He has lived in the town ever since except for a 16 month tour in the Army in Oklahoma and Iraq. He is an electrician by trade.

What people say about him: A hard worker, and committed to seeing things through. He is dedicated to working for his constituents. (He keeps a piece of paper in his day planner with the number "2,056" to remind him how many people voted for him.)

His goals for 2007: Meredith wants to add new police officers to the Galt Police Department, finish the General Plan update and work on upgrading the wastewater treatment plant and C Street interchange.

Quote: "This will be the biggest year of my four year term on the council."

Janice Magdich

Family: Husband, Tim Rogan; twin daughters, Claire and Lauren Rogan, 2.

Janice Magdich poses for a portrait. (Whitney Ramirez/News-Sentinel)

What she does: Magdich is the deputy city attorney for the City of Lodi. She handles most of the litigation for the city.

Background: Born and raised in Southern California, Magdich earned a bachelor's degree in history and pre law from the University of Pacific. Heading back down south, she earned a master's degree in paralegal studies from University of San Diego before getting a law degree from McGeorge. She worked in private law firms before coming to Lodi in late 2004. She likes playing golf, skiing and traveling.

What people say about her: Colleagues say she is highly professional, a great communicator, incredibly intelligent and adventurous (She once traveled around Southeast Asia for three weeks by herself.)

Her goals for 2007: Magdich said most of her time will be spent working on a lawsuit that San Joaquin County filed against the city to force Lodi to use its 911 dispatch service. As legal council to the Planning Commission, she said she expects to deal with issues relating to the greenbelt and San Joaquin Delta College's plans for a Lodi campus.

Quote: "I would anticipate our work volume in 2007 to be consistent with 2006 �" one of the busiest years we've seen."

First published: Saturday, January 6, 2007

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