John Dinsmore has dedicated his life to helping others and serving the public good. For over twenty years he worked as a social worker and in 1998 he began his leadership service with Otter Tail County as the Director of Human Services. In 2012, Dinsmore, with a breadth of experience, was selected to lead the Community Services Division and later was appointed by the County Board of Commissioners to a three-year term as County Administrator. Dinsmore will retire on January 31, 2020.
Dinsmore, a graduate of Fergus Falls High School, chose his social services career path early in life. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter, MN with degrees in psychology and criminal justice, fields in which he could make a positive impact in the lives of others. Early in his career he worked in a variety of mental health services roles, including at a psychiatric state hospital in North Carolina and various community based mental health programs in Minnesota and Montana. Dinsmore’s lifelong love of learning lead him to earn a master’s degree in Management and complete course work in the Doctorate of Public Administration program at Hamline University in St. Paul.
In reflecting upon his years at Otter Tail County, Dinsmore is proud of his public service, “I advocated that we follow a servant leadership model. When all is said and done, government is here to serve others. I think fellow Otter Tail County colleagues have exemplified this philosophy.” As noted in a resolution read before the Board of Commissioners, Dinsmore’s many accomplishments include his facilitation and development of strategic plans and initiatives that promote the County’s mission. Dinsmore noted, “Long range strategic planning will be completed this year. Many public sector organizations tend to address or react to immediate needs only. Otter Tail County is setting forth a 20-year plan that citizens can use as a guide to determine how we are progressing.” Dinsmore will leave a remarkable legacy in Otter Tail County.
During the recent Board meeting, County Board Chair Lee Rogness signed a resolution recognizing Dinsmore’s ‘commitment to supporting the underdog, his life-long dedication to improving the quality of life for those he served, and his leadership to collaborate with public and private organizations to enhance the services and resources of Otter Tail County’. Rogness stated, “John has been a tremendous asset to Otter Tail County. His leadership and collaboration with public and private organizations has earned him respect state-wide.”
With Dinsmore’s retirement, the County Board appointed Nicole Hansen, Director of Internal Services, as County Administrator and Nick Leonard as Deputy Administrator. “John has been an effective mentor over the years in my role as Internal Services/Human Resources Director. He has helped me grow and develop new skills to become a better leader. He is a kind, generous person and I have enjoyed working with him,” said Hansen.