Curt Spannraft

Name: Thomas Montgomery
Title: Public Works Director
Where: City of Hastings, Minn.
Population: 22,500
What: 22 employees provide engineering, streets, water, wastewater, and stormwater services; and hydroelectric power.
Operating budget: $7 million
Capital budget: $3 million to $4 million

Since he become a City of Hastings employee in 1984, Thomas Montgomery advanced from assistant city engineer to first public works director in 1991. During this time population almost doubled.

The number of street miles and utility accounts nearly doubled as well. Public works has replaced two water towers and built a third, built two new wells, and abandoned and sealed three older wells; and is addressing nitrate contamination of groundwater from surrounding farms.

He managed all this growth with a flexible workforce and technology.

“Creating a pool of cross-trained, skilled workers allows flexibility in assignments and the ability to shift staff to meet operations and maintenance priorities,” he says. “Our goal isn’t to be on the cutting edge of testing new technologies, but to be early adopters, closely following the successes of first users.”