I didn’t really understand public works as a career until after I started working as a consulting engineer,” says Eric Dundee, 35, who switched from the private sector to public works 11 years ago. Early in his career he joined a municipal design/construction firm and started collaborating with the public works director, city engineer, and utility foreman.

“I went out with field staff looking for water valves and manholes and checking the condition of assets for our engineering process,” says Dundee, who’s now principal engineer for the City of Madison, Wis. “It changed my mindset about taking ownership.”

In the private sector, moving from one project to the next, “I didn’t attach to projects on a personal level,” he explains. He was drawn to the day-to-day continuity of public works. “It appealed to me to become part of that as an employee.”

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