6 Tacoma employees named public works leadership fellows

Six City of Tacoma Public Works employees have been named national Public Works Leadership Fellows by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The employees include Richard “Dick” McKinley, Public Works Director; Mike Slevin, Assistant Public Works Director; Jeff Jenkins, Public Works/Facilities Division Manager; John O’Loughlin, Division Manager of Maintenance for Environmental Services; Dan Seabrands, Engineering Assistant Division Manager; and Geoffrey Smyth, Science and Engineering Division Manager.

The role of the Public Works Leadership Fellows is to mentor public works professionals enrolled in the APWA Donald C. Stone Center for Leadership Excellence (DCS Center) throughout the next year. McKinley is among the 96 public works professionals from across North America who were recently inducted as Leadership Fellows (PWLF) at the APWA 2011 International Public Works Congress in Denver, Colo. in September, and Jenkins, Smyth, Slevin, O’Loughlin, and Seabrands were among the second group of PWLFs designated in November. The APWA Donald C. Stone Center’s Program Council determines the selection of recipients for the PWLF designation.

“The average age of APWA members in leadership positions is 51 years old, and as that group heads toward retirement, there is a critical need to bestow their accumulated wisdom on the next generation of leaders. The resulting knowledge transfer will help to position the next generation to better address the issues of the 21st Century,” said APWA Executive Director Peter B. King. “The Fellows have pledged to assist those who aspire to become leaders through a focused mentoring program. The PWLF is a senior executive service designation that recognizes commitment to the public works profession.”

As the Public Works Director for the City of Tacoma, McKinley directs a staff of 850, and an annual budget of about $300 million. His department’s responsibilities include engineering, construction, streets, grounds, facilities, fleet, real property, surveying, wastewater, storm water, urban forestry, solid waste and environmental services. Prior to his current position, McKinley served as the Director of Public Works for the City of Bellingham, Wash., and the City of Walla Walla, Wash.

Slevin, who is the Public Works Assistant Director for Environmental Services, is responsible for the overall management and operations of the three public works utilities, wastewater, surface water, and solid waste.

Jenkins, who is Facilities Division Manager in Tacoma, provides leadership and direction for the city’s facilities, fleet and the real property interests for government and public utilities.

O’Loughlin, the Division Manager in charge of Maintenance for Environmental Services, has responsibilities including maintenance of the City’s wastewater treatment plants and pump stations, as well as the pipes, manholes and catch basins that make up the sewer and stormwater collection systems.

Seabrands is the Assistant Division Manager of Tacoma’s Public Works/Engineering and has responsibilities including design improvements for arterial streets, residential streets, and local improvement districts, as well as design of water quality or storage facilities for street runoff.

Finally, Smyth, who leads the Science and Engineering Division, has the responsibility to provide engineering, technical and compliance support for the surface water, wastewater and solid waste utilities.

“It is an honor and a privilege to work with the dedicated women and men who choose to serve in public works. With the complex challenges facing public works professionals ever growing, it is important to ensure there are opportunities for those professionals to hone their skills, consider new strategies, and find ways to meet these challenges. This program allows us to mentor the next generation of public works leaders and give back to a profession that means so much to us,” said McKinley.

For more information about the Donald C. Stone Center’s Public Works Leadership Fellow program, or other APWA professional development opportunities, visit http://www.apwa.net .