Q&A with Tom Klein, Avon Town Manager
1. Where are you from?
I was born in Urbana, Illinois, but moved to Bloomington, Indiana, at 11 months old, so I grew up in Bloomington. I got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Indiana University Bloomington from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. I spent one year of college at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, where I studied International Relations.
2. How long have you held this position?
I started in July 1998. I was the first Town Manager for the Town of Avon, created in 1995.
3. What led you to run for this position?
I am appointed by the Town Council. Since I was a teenager, I’ve always been interested in history and government. I was a paperboy as a kid, so every day, I would read the paper before delivering it. I lived across the street from the Mayor of Bloomington, so I got to see how government works up close.
My family has a long heritage of public service. My ancestor, John Benjamin, came from England in 1632 and become the Constable (similar to a Town Manager at that time) of Cambridge, Massachusetts. One grandfather worked for the 5th Army Headquarters in Chicago, and the other grandfather was a minister for the Congregational Church. My father was a public television producer, and my mother was a teacher.
4. What does a typical day look like for you?
There isn’t a typical day in local government. Every day is different, and that is what makes working for the town enjoyable.
5. What do you consider major accomplishments in your career?
Projects like $100 million of road and trail improvements for Avon; improving our intersections by constructing roundabouts; and construction and expansion of Avon Town Hall Park, connecting our community with trails and sidewalks. We’re also getting ready to build a bridge over CSX on Avon Avenue.
6. What would you consider some frustrations/disappointments in your career?
I like the saying: “Keep calm and carry on,” so I try to not let things frustrate or disappoint me.
7. What is your main goal for the future?
Continuing to maintain the good quality of life in Avon.
8. What do you like best about Avon?
We’re a family friendly community. We have nice parks and a natural environment, good restaurants and shopping.
9. What is the best advice you have ever received?
There are many people that have given me advice throughout my life, and the best advice was from my mom who said that we should be nice to everyone.
10. One word to describe you?
I try to follow my mom’s advice, so I would say the one word to describe me is “nice.”
11. Tell me about your family, ages, etc.
I’ve been married to Lexi for 11 years. We have a 6-year-old daughter. I have three boys from my previous marriage; the oldest is 22 and is a senior at DePauw University, my middle son is 18 and a senior at Avon High School, and my youngest son is 16 and is a junior at Avon High School. We have three dogs too!
12. What do you do to relax?
Play outside with my daughter, walk the dogs, go on a bike ride, play golf with my sons and watch the sunset with Lexi.
13. Do you live in Avon?
14. What is you and your family’s favorite part of Avon?
Town Hall Park – we like the trails and the playgrounds.
15. What was your last family vacation?
We went to New Buffalo, Michigan. We rented a home and hung out at the beach for a week. We go to New Buffalo every summer and pretend we’re in Florida without the salt water or sharks.
16. What’s your favorite book?
I like non-fiction books, mostly about historical events or people. For fiction, it would be “Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien or any book by Stephen King.
17. Favorite movie?
I like the westerns with Clint Eastwood: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly;” “A Fistful of Dollars for a Few Dollars More;” and “Unforgiven.”
18. Are you involved in any community organizations?
I am a member of the Avon Rotary Club and Avon United Methodist Church.
19. Your favorite food?
I enjoy different kinds of ethnic food including Thai, Indian, Mediterranean and Argentine.
20. Favorite song?
I enjoy old and new music. My favorite song would be either “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits or “Let It Be” by the Beatles.