Nevada has a new postmaster.
Kevin Nessa, who turns 59 this week, was installed as Nevada’s postmaster on Thursday, Nov. 16. A ceremony of installation was held that morning, and by afternoon, Nessa was at work in his corner office inside the big brick building on K Avenue.
Most recently, Nessa had been postmaster at the Huxley Post Office for three years. After former Nevada Postmaster Jim Kilmer left the position, Nessa came to Nevada to fill in as an officer in charge for four months and was eventually selected to be the postmaster.
One thing that is similar in both the Huxley and Nevada post offices, he said, is great employees. Where Nevada has an edge, he admits, is that it’s a shorter commute for him from his home in Garden City, an unincorporated little village where he’s lived his entire life.
“There’s only 100 people in Garden City,” he said. And he loves the fact that he has three lots of property, with many trees and much green space. Garden City is also where he got his first start in postal work, following a family tradition of postal workers.
“My great-grandpa, my grandpa, an uncle, my dad and then me,” he said, were all postmasters in Garden City. “My uncle was the last postmaster to be hired politically. My dad was the first in the family to be hired by the postal service.”
His dad was also the town butcher. Nessa, a 1977 graduate of Radcliffe High School, left Garden City when he attended Buena Vista College, where he planned to play football. But he was injured his first year there, a hip injury he’d also suffered in high school, and he didn’t want that to end up causing him too many more problems. The one hobby he could never live without, he said, is hunting. “I didn’t want never to be able to hunt again.” So he gave up BV and football and came back home to work as a butcher. Because he was back, his family purchased a second locker in Hubbard, and the young Nessa commuted there daily to run that store.
Eventually, he got into the other “family business” — postal work. His 30-year-career, which started in Garden City, has included him working in various capacities. He’s been a city route examiner, has helped do clerk evaluations, was a rural route subject matter expert and worked for the accounting office. He’s also served as a supervisor in the Marshalltown Post Office and in addition to Garden City, has held postmaster positions in Beaman, Stanhope, Hubbard and Huxley.
Growing up with a family that had a store, Nessa learned first-hand about the value of customer service, and Nessa said that’s the thing that he feels is most important in his role as a postmaster. “I enjoy working with my employees to ultimately satisfy customers’ needs,” he said. While Nevada is a little bigger than some post offices he’s been in, Nessa said he loves when he still hears the front desk clerk greeting many customers by name.
When asked about the postal service and the challenges they face, Nessa is frank, “First class mail is going down, down, down,” he said. But on the flip side, “package delivery is going up, up, up. If we keep going the way we are, we’re going to be a package and advertisement delivery service,” he said. He agrees — that’s just the way the world is going.
In fact, with so many people ordering goods online, which he knows from the many packages the post office handles, Nessa said it gives him a really good feeling when he looks at Nevada’s main street and sees people pulling up in front of the businesses. There is still life in downtown Nevada, he acknowledges.
Nessa and his wife, Kim, who has been with him since they were in high school, have three children and nine grandchildren. Their son, Josh Nessa and his wife Traci, live in Colo; their daughter, Sarah, and her husband Matt Thompson, live in Garden City; and their son, Jake, and his wife Sara live in Alton. Ironically, he said, he and his wife had three kids and each of their kids have three kids and each of their kids have two girls and a boy.
One more little tidbit that’s kind of interesting about Nessa’s work in Nevada … it will give him a bird’s-eye view of his wife on many of her work days. Kim works for Lutherans For Life, which has its offices right across Fifth Street from the Nevada Post Office. Though she works from home some days, on the days she comes to Nevada, the two can wave to each other. That’s pretty cool.