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Aug 16, 2011 1:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Quogue Building Inspector Follows In The Footsteps Of Mentor

Nov 29, 2011 9:11 AM

Quogue Village Building Inspector Bill Nowak has big shoes to fill.

Luckily for Mr. Nowak, the man whose office he now inhabits—former Building Inspector Ed Wolfersdorf, who worked in the village for the past decade—is someone he considers a good friend and mentor.

“We’ve been trading my advice on fishing for his advice on Quogue code lately,” Mr. Nowak wrote in an email, noting that he and Mr. Wolfersdorf previously worked together for the Southampton Town Building Department. “His help and advice has made for a smooth transition.”

Mr. Wolfersdorf inspected his last home in Quogue on June 24, according to village officials.

“He is definitely a mentor,” Mr. Nowak said about his friend during a recent interview. “It’s hard to even put into words.”

Almost 20 years after working alongside his predecessor, Mr. Nowak followed in Mr. Wolfersdorf’s footsteps to become Quogue’s sole building inspector. The move, he said, sharply contrasts his former position in Southampton—where he worked for the past 16 years—because the village is a much smaller community.

Mr. Nowak, who lives in East Moriches with his wife, Donna, and children Jessica, 18, and David, 15, said that the opportunity to work in such a small community gives him the chance to interact with the public more, something that brought him to the profession in the first place. “I’ve always enjoyed working with the public. This is more my style,” he said.

The building inspector is a “one-man band” of sorts in Quogue Village. Mr. Nowak explained that he handles all of the village’s certificates of occupancy, building permits and inspections, among other duties. He also said his new job mirrors his old position with the town, in that he is still inspecting residential and commercial buildings.

“There, I handled Coastal Erosion Hazard Area permits and everything else,” Mr. Nowak said, noting that his experience with CEHA may have contributed to his earning the position, following a report issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation in November that claimed that the village was not stringently enforcing building restrictions within the environmentally sensitive area.

Mr. Nowak noted that although the Southampton Town CEHA code is “worded differently” from Quogue’s, he believes he can better serve the village due to his expertise working with the environmentally sensitive areas.

Mr. Nowak, 46, who grew up in nearby Westhampton Beach, said that building and architecture have been his passions for years. After graduating from Westhampton Beach High School, Mr. Nowak enrolled in Suffolk County Community College in Selden, where he earned an associate’s degree in construction technology and a drafting certificate. While attending college, he worked for Southampton Town, commuting back and forth between Selden and Southampton, where he inspected Section 8 housing.

He went on to earn a degree in special education from Dowling College and after a brief stint teaching a special education class at Westhampton Beach Middle School in 1992, he returned to the Town Building Department, where he remained for almost two decades.

“The people are great in the village,” Mr. Nowak said of his new job. “I’m all phases of the Building Department. I’m the chef, cook and bottle washer.” He added: “It’s nice to have an office with a door that shuts.”

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great guy

good luck bill
By Bestmod (8), southampton on Sep 15, 11 6:30 AM
Good luck Bill, I know you will be the same propfessional inspector you were for the last 20 years in Southampton.
By gusbeme (33), southampton on Sep 17, 11 11:44 AM
Mr. Wolfersdorf was great! Good luck, I am sure you will do just as well.
By EQmom (18), East Quogue on Sep 21, 11 10:02 PM
Congratulations Bill- regards to your family...
By Denis Yuen, Program Director (11), Aquebogue on Sep 22, 11 2:22 AM
Congratulations, Bill. Quogue is lucky to have you.
By Linda Riley (1), Southampton on Nov 3, 11 4:53 PM
Good luck Bill you were a wonderful person easy to work with and just a nice guy. You will be missed. Wish you could have taken Harold with you
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Nov 5, 11 7:33 PM
And the reason for today's time stamp for an 8/16/11 article is?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 16, 11 9:53 PM