More stories about People

  • Miami-Dade taps female PW director

    Miami-Dade County—one of the largest in the country—has appointed longtime employee Esther Calas as its new director of public works. Calas, who joined the department in 1976 as an engineering drafter, replaces Aristides Rivera, who is retiring after 32 years with the county.

  • Richard D. Goecke: Public works director City of Las Vegas

    Las Vegas is a city that never rests—and neither does Dick Goecke, the city's public works director for two decades. He oversees a workforce of 400 employees and commands an annual operating budget of more than $100 million. The challenge of piloting the public works department of such an active...

  • Jimmy B. Foster, P.E.: Director of public works City of Plano, Texas

    When asked to talk about Plano, Jimmy Foster sounds like a proud parent. He lists the numerous quality-of-life awards the city of 245,000 people has received over the years, including recognition as an All-America City in 1994, one of America's best cities for women (by

  • Leslie P. Bland: Director of public works City of Fenton, Mich.

    Leslie Bland got into the public works field at the ground level—literally. An experienced backhoe and grader operator, he answered an ad for a skilled laborer position with Fenton, Mich., in 1969 and was hired. He rose through the ranks and has served as director of public works since 1979.

  • Cheryl F. Creson: Municipal Services Agency administrator Sacramento County, Calif.

    You might be surprised to find a registered nurse in public works, but looking at Cheryl Creson's list of duties and achievements, it's not such a big stretch. As head of Sacramento County's Municipal Services Agency (MSA), one of her primary responsibilities is protecting her community's health.

  • William P. Baxter, P.E.: Public works director Orange County Public Works, Orlando, Fla.

    Bill Baxter stands at the helm of one of the biggest public works agencies in Florida, with an operational budget of $70 million and a capital improvement budget of nearly S200 million. In addition to his role as public works director, Baxter serves as county engineer. Understandably, his myriad...

  • Mitch Zamojc, P.E.: Commissioner of public works The Regional Municipality of Peel, Ontario

    Mitch Zamojc gives most of the credit for success to his team. “You can't win the Stanley Cup with one player,” he said. “I will say to anybody that it's the best group of people, the most dedicated, the most passionate, helpful team possible. You can't win [APWA Top 10] without it, you really...

  • Brian Usher: Director of public works and engineering City of Zion, Ill.

    In the ever-expanding Chicago region, Zion, Ill., is the last open space on Lake Michigan's north shore before reaching Wisconsin, but the town is expanding rapidly. Brian Usher has spent the past five years as Zion's public works director striving to control and accommodate the rapid growth.

  • Doug Wesselschmidt: City engineer: City of Shawnee, Kan.

    The only time Doug Wesselschmidt thought about going into a field other than engineering was during a college calculus test. “I was thinking, ‘What kind of a profession can I go into that does not involve calculus?' Fortunately, I made it through that test and many others after that,” he said.

  • J. Michael Sullivan, P.E.: Regional Vice President Gresham, Smith & Partners Nashville, Tenn.

    In a world where “Ready, aim, fire” has become “Ready, fire, aim,” Mickey Sullivan directs his career in terms of aiming before firing. “Some people start firing before they get their aim down,” he said. “We try to make sure our aim is down before we squeeze the trigger. Make sure to have all the...