City of Red Wing employee, Mary Anway, has happily fallen outside of the norm. She knew in high school that she wanted a career in science, something unusual for females in the 1970s. Even more unusual, she was the first woman to graduate from 916 Vocational School with a degree in Air and Water Analysis. She landed a job six months after graduation with the City of Red Wing and has stayed there ever since. Mary recently marked her 40 year employment anniversary, a milestone few in today’s job market reach.
When Mary was first hired as a Field and Lab Technician, she was analyzing drinking and wastewater treatment samples from several different locations throughout the city. Her position has grown and changed throughout her tenure. Mary now works as the City Chemist, predominantly in the lab at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. She manages quality control and paperwork for the MN Dept. of Health and MN Pollution Control certification programs, coordinating the bio solids and pretreatment programs. The scope of Mary’s home life has changed a lot, too. Those same 40 years saw Mary moving away from her home town of Hastings to create a new life in Red Wing. They also saw her married, raising her two sons, one of which grew up to work in the wastewater industry also, and now enjoying grandchildren.
It has been a good life, both professionally and personally, though not necessarily the one that Mary saw for herself as a younger person. She originally started out pursuing a degree in nursing, and only changed career tracks when she came to the realization that she wanted to work a more traditional schedule, rather than the long, often overnight, and weekend shifts that nurses frequently work. While she was in college, she and her mother went to a palm reader on a lark. The palm reader predicted Mary would "live by water", something she scoffed at during the reading, but upon reflection has grown to think otherwise.
“I may not have had a house on the water, but I’ve certainly made my living and subsequently, my life, by water,” Mary laughed while remembering that prediction. We’re certainly glad that you have, Mary. Congratulations on your 40 year anniversary and thank you for sharing that life with the City of Red Wing.