Director of Public Works - Portage, WI

Portage, Wisconsin
$90,000 – $100,000 +/- DOQ Excellent benefit package.
Oct 29, 2021
Nov 28, 2021
Position Type
Contract Type
Organization Type

Director of Public Works, Portage, WI (pop. 10,500).  Within 30 minutes of the City of Madison, Portage is located between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, and nearby two major Interstate highways. Combined, these features offer an abundance of four-season recreation with a high quality of small-town life, all enhanced by easy access to urban amenities.

Portage is a full-service municipality. The city is about nine square miles, and is home to a number of manufacturing companies and industries. The downtown retail district is a vibrant location for residents and tourists alike.

The city seeks a high-energy, collaborative public works professional to oversee a broad range of services including water and wastewater utilities, engineering, stormwater, streets and facilities maintenance, fleet management and a municipal airport. The ideal candidate is an innovative and collaborative thinker. 

The Director manages the activities and operations of the Public Works Department including developing plans, goals, objectives, and action steps for the Department, advising the City Administrator on matters pertaining to departmental functions, and contributing to overall city management as a member of the City's executive leadership team.  The Director is responsible for leading a department of 23 full-time employees, as well as managing $2.1 million in general fund and $2.4 million in utility budgets. The Director reports to the City Administrator.

The new Director can expect to:

  • Address aging infrastructure including streets and utilities facilities. Like many Midwestern communities, Portage has a long list of demands on its road and sewer networks, with the city taking on an aggressive road rehabilitation program in the last several years.
  • In collaboration with the City Administrator, plan, develop and program city facilities improvements. Planned improvements include upgrades to the public works facility with building and site plan accounted for in the latest CIP. In addition, the wastewater treatment plant is 40 years old, and needs updates per new regulations. 
  • Hire a new team member. The city recently authorized the creation of a Utility Manager position to assist in the oversight of the city’s water and wastewater utilities. The new Director of Public Works will have a hand in selecting this new Manager, which will add to the department’s management team including a Manager of Parks and Recreation and two superintendents.
  • Move forward the rehabilitation of the historic Portage canal, a 3.5 mile connection between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers that dates back to the mid-1850s. The canal is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is Wisconsin’s only canal. Improvements have been underway for a number of years, with recent interest in adding a multi-use trail.
  • Assist the City’s Airport Commission as they undergo updating the facility’s master plan and runway layout.
  • Meet the high standards of service quality that residents have come to enjoy.  The Director can expect to infuse within the departmental an organizational culture that is focused on interdepartmental collaboration, as well as responsiveness and proactive outreach to the community.
  • Examine the Department’s staffing levels, workforce deployment and retention issues, and succession planning needs.

Qualified candidates should have:

  • A bachelor's degree in engineering, public works management, public administration, business administration or related field. P.E. credentials are not required, but highly desired.
  • Three or more years of progressively responsible positions in municipal public works, utilities or construction experience, including supervisory experience.
  • Well developed skills in effective service delivery, creative problem solving and team management.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and listening skills.

Starting salary range for the position is $90,000 – $100,000 +/- DOQ.  Excellent benefit package.

Candidates should apply by November 26, 2021 (open until filled) with resume, cover letter and contact information for three work-related references to to the attention of Lee Szymborski, Senior Vice President, GovHR USA, 630 Dundee Road, #225, Northbrook, IL 60062. Tel:  847-380-3240 ext. 103. The City is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Click HERE to Apply!