When Valerie Salmons began work as Bartlett's first full-time village administrator in 1982, the town was home to just 13,254 residents.
When Salmons retires in January after 35 years in the position, she'll be leaving behind a community whose population has more than tripled since her first day on the job.
"This has been a great town," said Salmons, one of the longest-serving village administrators in Illinois. "(The village's) staff has always been the most creative and productive and knowledgeable."
Salmons came to Bartlett after interning in Deerfield and serving as assistant manager in Decatur. Along with a population boom, she has helped oversee significant industrial and infrastructure growth in the village.
Village President Kevin Wallace said it's been "very comforting" to have Salmons' seniority and leadership around since he was elected in 2013.
"She has been a wonderful village administrator, and the proof is in the way the village operates," Wallace said. "We have well-funded pensions and we pass balanced budgets."
Salmons says one success that still makes her proud is Bartlett's response to flooding that plagued the area in 2008.
"The village got to work right away with DuPage County," she said. The response included construction of a water retention basin on forest preserve land and a flood control project on Bartlett's east side.
"We don't have to worry about flooding for the distant future now," Salmons said.
As village administrator, Salmons was the first woman appointed to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board in 1990. Former Gov. Jim Thompson initially named Salmons to the position, and five Illinois governors have reappointed her since. She was also the first woman elected to serve as the board's chairwoman.
What does retirement hold for Salmons? She said she is "looking at her options."