Tamara Knutsen, Ouray County Building Inspector. November 13, 2013
Story by Kathryn R. Burke
Knutson, Ouray County’s female building inspector, followed a fairly direct path to get to where she is today. After graduating a BS in Resource Management, she went to work for the Department of Natural Resources in Wisconson for two years. She then joined her father’s firm, Knutson Bros. Remodelers, serving as Project Manager, scheduling subcontractors and ordering products, and later Field Project Manager. It was while working with her father and uncle that she learned all phases of the construction business.
In 1991, Tamara started her own company, Knutson Log Homes, designing and building homes for nearly 10 years, primarily in Wisconson. One notable home, the Meltzer House, Mequon, Wisconson, was featured in “Wisconson Home Gallery Magazine.” The article noted that Tamara: “… comes from a long history of builders and remodelers.” and went on to point out that although some might have a problem working with a woman builder, “as soon as one talks with Tamara, you instantly know she understands everything connected with the building trades.”
Always on the lookout for new educational and work opportunities, Tamara’s left the physical part of building behind and turned to appraisals and inspections. She became a licensed appraiser and put in ten years in that field, going from 100 appraisals a year to more than 300 with just one part time office manager. When home sales plummeted, Tamara also went to work for Home Depot where she spent five years in Home Service Sales, half in Wisconson, and more recently, here in Montrose, Colorado.
From there, it was an easy jump to the job of building inspector for Ouray County. “I thought I’d build houses for 30 years, then do appraisals till I retired,” she said. “But then life came along! I started taking online courses and learning more about all aspects of construction, so when the job of building inspector became available, I applied.”
“It’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “It’s a dream job. I get to use all the experience and education I’ve gained along the way. The people I work with are extremely knowledgable and really care about Ouray County. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and mutual support. Best of all, I get paid to work in the most beautiful part of Colorado.”
WCOC Monthly meetings are held from 1-3 pm on the third Tuesday every month in the San Juan Room of the Ouray Community Center. Regular meetings for 2013-14 feature “Uncommon Women: Uncommon Lives, Part III” with guest speakers who have interesting and unusual occupations for a woman. The public is welcome. Click here to view the list of past and future guest speakers.
Following the guest presentation, guests and members enjoy a social period with refreshments and an opportunity to view various projects and sign up for committee activities. The regular membership meeting follows, which addresses upcoming events and activities, shares “Cares and Concerns” with members, and reviews other membership business.
Members and guests are encouraged to bring items for the Ouray County Food Pantry.