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Forty years is quite a streak for ‘String’

County worker spent four decades on the job

November 25, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

When something needs to be fixed, they call on "String."

Dennis Zitzow, also known by his nickname, "String," has worked for 40 years for Marshall County in the secondary roads department. The 61-year-old currently works as a mechanic, fixing everything from trucks to backhoes and other types of county equipment.

"It's been a real good job for me," the rural Marshalltown resident said.

Article Photos

Dennis Zitzow fixes a fender on a motor grader Wednesday at the Marshall County secondary roads shop in Marshalltown. Zitzow, 61, has worked for the county for 40 years.

Zitzow's career started on Nov. 16, 1972.

"I started out as a truck driver and just worked my way up and do what I'm told to do," he said. "I just kind of quietly do my job."

The day he started on the job was the same day he acquired the nickname "String," from a co-worker who thought Zitzow's slight build looked like a string bean.

"It doesn't bother me," Zitzow said of the nickname. "It could have been a lot worse."

A bulk of the work he does on the equipment is wiring and fixing lights and hydraulics. Zitzow said he was born and raised on a farm, so working outdoors with his hands comes natural to him.

"It was right up my alley," he said.

County Engineer Paul Geilenfeldt said Zitzow is the go-to guy when something needs to be fixed in the shop. He said Zitzow's experience has served to be valuable in training other members of the staff.

"He's taught a lot to the rest of our guys that work there," Geilenfeldt said.

The rest of the guys are also not shy when it comes to ribbing on Zitzow for his wealth of experience.

"I've taken a little guff from them about when I'm going to retire and being old, but that comes with the territory," Zitzow said.

Zitzow was recognized for his 40 years of service to the county at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, where Supervisors Chairman Denny Grabenbauer called him an integral part of the secondary roads department.

Zitzow said he plans to step down from the job in the next few years as he times his retirement with his wife, Nancy.



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