BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)- Bristol, Tennessee has a new city manager. Kelly Bourgeois arrived from Columbia Heights, Minnesota last week, about a month after former city manager, Bill Sorah retired.

“My primary goal is learning and getting to know people,” Bourgeois told News Channel 11. “One of the [most fun] parts of my job and a big responsibility is just to get out and meet people and see what we should be doing and what we could be doing to help and make sure businesses and residents have the best experience living and working here that they can.”

She’s spent the last thirty years in local government with almost a decade in Columbia Heights.

“I started out as the human resources director and assistant city manager, and then four and a half years ago moved into the city manager role there,” she said. “So same position just a different city, different state.”

As their youngest daughter was graduating high school a few years ago, Bourgeois and her husband were starting to think of a move to a new place. They made a list of destinations, and Bristol was on it.

“We knew we wanted to leave Minnesota just for a number of reasons – the weather and just wanting to get out. There’s so much in this country to experience,” she said. “So when the city manager position opened up, when Bill [Sorah] retired, I had to try to throw my hat in the ring and was shocked. But it’s still a wonderful feeling to get to be here.”

Bourgeois said Bristol, Tennessee was well managed before she stepped into the role, with ongoing projects like the Pinnacle and downtown revitalization already in full swing.

“Right now, my goals just are to take what the council’s vision has been and what has been happening because the city is run very well,” she said. “It has been for years. Our elected officials and our staff have done an amazing job of getting us to this point. So it’s really right now just keeping things moving.”

There is one issue though that she wants to tackle: the housing market. And it’s not just because she’s the city manager but also a new resident herself.

“It’s hard, hard to find housing here right now. So to get to be a part of ‘How do we move that forward?’ All levels of housing, how do we make sure that anyone that wants to come here to work, to retire, to live has a good place, whatever type of place they want to come and live here and be a part of the community,” she said. “There’s housing opportunities and housing projects in the pipeline. And they’re getting you know, they’re continuing to move forward.”

She’s hoping her experience can help the city manage its growth.

“Everything is right on the cusp. There’s so much right at the point of being very visible happening – housing and transportation projects and business projects and redevelopment projects. And it’s just starting to kind of burst and bloom where everyone can see it sort of get to be here and be a part of that is really exciting.”

Another major task ahead of Bourgeois is working with the city council to finalize the budget, as she arrived at the start of the budget season for local governments.