Public Works Director
City of Anaheim, Calif.
Employees: 250
Population served: 348,300
Budget: $114 million; $330 million CIP

Public works is about more than maintaining infrastructure. It’s also about planning for the future.

“Existing water, energy, and transportation resources won’t meet the needs of future generations, so public works leaders will be challenged with creating a more sustainable future,” says Natalie Meeks. “Infrastructure must be designed and built in ways that transform how people think and behave.”

This is difficult when policymakers don’t see past the next election.

Cultivating a long-term vision for the community requires providing clear direction toward defined goals. Work with other public and private leaders to create alignment around a cohesive vision and ensure they appreciate infrastructure’s role in achieving that vision.

Anaheim’s resort district is an example of effective public works leadership. The result of private investment from Walt Disney Co. and the expanded Anaheim Convention Center, the project changed the perception of the area and stimulated investment citywide. Shops, restaurants, and hotels in the 1,100-acre district generate one-half, or about $77 million, of the city’s tax revenue every year.

More 2015 APWA Top 10 Leaders.