DOUGLAS — In her first month as Douglas city manager, Ana Urquijo has been doing her best to get reacquainted with the various community organizations as well as all that is currently taking place in Douglas.

The Douglas Business Network recently invited Urquijo to a sit-down lunch at the Blueberry Cafe where she provided some insight on her plans are for the city going forward the next three years.

Herald/Review: Your first day as city manager was Monday, Oct. 18. What was that day like for you, taking over as city manager of a town you grew up in?

Ana Urquijo: “My first day as city manager in Douglas was fantastic, familiar and very comfortable. My day was filled with meetings with staff and Mayor (Donald) Huish to begin immediate briefings on current events, projects and issues. Born and raised in the community certainly provides me with great perspective, understanding and a sound frame of reference for all briefings and discussions on local government issues and opportunities. The city of Douglas has taken on a guiding principle of ‘Embracing our Heritage, Advancing our Future,’ and it certainly resonates strongly when there is a deep-rooted understanding and love for the community you grew up in.”

H/R: You worked here several years, retired, took a job with former city manager Mike Ortega in Tucson and then came back. What made you decide to apply for the city manager position?

AU: “Working for the city of Tucson, an organization that is a leader in so many critical areas of local government, provided a wonderful and very successful experience. I had amazing opportunities to work directly on efforts to transform organizational culture, accentuate employee-centric programs, reorganizations and many more innovative efforts to enhance the organization and the service to the community. My husband and I maintained our home in Douglas, and we knew we would someday return to be closer to our parents and to eventually retire in our home community. Things fell into place, with this job opportunity, to allow us to make the transition back to Douglas and while we are certainly not retired, we are blessed with how things worked out.”

H/R: Please share some memories you have about growing up in Douglas.

AU: “There are many wonderful memories of growing up in Douglas. As a kid there was never a dull moment and always adventure with my siblings and neighbors. We played outside every day until we heard our mothers call us in for dinner or when it was dark. Our neighbor’s home had a large bell outside and that is how their parents called them home each night. Once that bell started ringing, all our mothers started calling us in as well. We had no technology, and the bell was heard throughout the neighborhood. I also recall taking the bus to school in the morning and our bus driver, Santiago, would honk outside our home if we were late and not at the bus stop. I also recall walking home from Loretto School to my parent’s business downtown and stopping by the Arizona Drug Store for a chocolate Coke. I remember a busy and thriving downtown with restaurants, banks, shops and a music store. Other favorite memories include horseback riding, raising chickens, climbing trees and building clubhouses. We lived outside city limits and my parents always had at least one horse, many dogs and always some livestock. Growing up was simple, stress free and if we didn’t have much, we didn’t know it. Life was good.”

H/R: What are some of the things you’re hoping to accomplish as city manager?

AU: “My work will focus on accomplishing the effective placing of policy into action as the mayor and council set direction, establish priorities and lay out the future of this community. This is an exciting time for Douglas. The recent passing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes funding for Port of Entry projects, is the culmination of great work and dedication over many years by current and past administrations, consultants, stakeholders, congressional support and strong partnerships with Mexico. The POE project includes the upcoming remodeling of the existing POE and the construction of a commercial POE west of Douglas. The city of Douglas is very excited for the upcoming POE investment and the opportunities it can bring to our community and surrounding region. The hard work will continue and, in many ways, only begins. Other priorities of the mayor and council include downtown revitalization, economic development, and much needed capital improvements for the community. City employees and the structure of the organization are among my priorities. I am meeting with each employee, individually, to share my objectives, foreseen challenges and needs as well as to learn of their own challenges and objectives. We will focus and reflect together on the tasks moving forward. Employees are the driving force of the organization, and they take pride and ownership for the work they do. It will be my focus to ensure they have resources, proper training and guidance to enhance their work wherever possible.”

H/R: How excited are you for this opportunity?

AU: “The city of Douglas mayor and council work great together for the community and for their constituents. I am very excited to get their work accomplished effectively and efficiently. I am eager to continue to lead as a public servant and to engage the community and the employees on all major issues. I look forward to providing my ideas, guidance and leadership to an organization and community that holds my heart. I will give back and be a resource as often as I can. There is much to be done and the city of Douglas team remains ready to be part of this exciting opportunity as well.”

H/R: Are you available to meet with community members?

AU: “I encourage engagement from the community and would love to hear from local groups or community members.”

Urquijo’s email address is ana.urquijo@douglasaz.gov