Principal Engineer - Department of Public Works

Santa Clara, California
$172,416.00 - $223,128.00
Nov 15, 2021
Nov 29, 2021
Position Type
Engineer, Project Manager
Contract Type
Organization Type

The City:
The City of Santa Clara is a "full service" city – one of only a few communities in the Bay Area that has its own police, fire, library, recreation, and electric, water, and sewer utilities, as well as all of the other departments and civic amenities expected in a thriving community. Santa Clara is a family-oriented and business-friendly city, led by a city government that has developed an award- winning ethics program and a commitment to fostering public trust. Located in Santa Clara County at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay, about 45 miles south of San Francisco, Santa Clara is a strategic regional hub, convenient to freeways, airports, railroads, expressways, light rail, and other public transportation.

Department of Public Works:
The City of Santa Clara's Department of Public Works seeks a result-oriented and innovative principal engineer to serve out the Department's mission to provide the highest quality public works services to the residents of Santa Clara, the development community, and our customers in a responsible and efficient manner. The ideal candidate will have engineering experience, excellent project management skills, and a strong oral and written communication background. Additionally, experience working in a team environment on significant projects, including working collaboratively with developers, contractors, technicians, field staff, outside agency staff, and the general public. The Department has focus areas that include Engineering Services and Operations and Maintenance.   Engineering Services is comprised of five divisions: Administration, Traffic, Design, Land and Property Development and Field Services.  For more information about the Department of Public Works please visit the department website.

The Position:
This position is responsible for managing the Public Works Department’s role in coordinating, facilitating and permitting for ahigh- profile, multi-year, multi-billion-dollar development in a public-private partnership between the City of Santa Clara and the Related Santa Clara development. This development is directly across Tasman Drive from Levi's Stadium and consists of 9.2 million square-feet of development on 240-acres and is primarily built on the closed Santa Clara landfill on City property. The successful incumbent should have experience with 1) extensive, multi-phase, long-term projects, 2) the development and design review of encroachment permit improvements and planning level documents for private development projects, and 3) performing high-level, fast-paced engineering work relating to the permitting, design, and construction of work within the public right-of-way and on City property. This position will be primarily focused on the Related Santa Clara development and over time will manage two staff members as part of a Public Works team focused on this development.

 As a member of the City's Unclassified Service, this is an "at-will" position and the incumbent serves at the discretion of the City Manager.  An incumbent in this classification:  demonstrates strong ethical, professional, and service-oriented leadership and interpersonal skills; sets a good example; and correctly applies the tenets of the City's Code of Ethics and values. 
This recruitment may be used to fill multiple positions in this, or other divisions or departments. If you are interested in employment in this classification, you should apply to ensure you are considered for additional opportunities that may utilize the applicants from this recruitment.



Duties include but are not limited to the following:

Under general direction:

  • Plan, develop, coordinate, and direct the activities of a Division of the City of Santa Clara Public Works Department;
  • Plan, organize, and manage engineering projects from the preliminary stage to the completion of construction and/or installation;
  • Confer with and assist the Assistant Director/City Engineer or Director of  Public Works in the development of long-range plans, prioritization of projects, goals, objectives, and budgets;
  • Act as a mentor to staff providing them with leadership, training, direction, & support;
  • Manage, schedule,  and evaluate the work of his/her Division's staff, and develop processes and procedures designed to support a continuous learning environment;
  • Attend meetings and work with other Departments such as Water & Sewer Utilities, Parks and Recreation, and Electric Utility, Contractors and City Staff to implement projects of mutual interest and follow City guidelines as it relates to Public Works projects;
  • Prepare and manage: Requests for Proposals, contracts, agreements, consultants/contractors for consulting and/or construction projects; Inspect or direct projects being performed by outside contractors; Perform specialized technical studies and/or investigations;
  • Take the lead on City owned contaminated property clean up, working with the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Clara Valley Water District and other State and Federal agencies;
  • Prepare complete and comprehensive oral and written reports and make recommendations;
  • Monitor the progress of projects through a data base and ensure that projects are completed on-time and within budget;
  • Prepare division operating and capital improvement budgets and assist in the preparation of departmental operating and capital improvement budget;
  • Present to City Council, commissions, and other organizations;
  • Develop Public Works requirements to be applied to private development projects;
  • Ensure that public facilities installed as part of private developments are constructed per approved plans and to City standards;
  • May act as the Assistant Director/City Engineer or Director of Public Works in his/her absence; and
  • Perform other related work as assigned.




  • Education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from a college or university that is accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology; and
  • Five (5) years of increasingly responsible experience in civil engineering office and field work, three years of which were obtained after registration and two of which have been as an engineer in a supervisory capacity.


  • Five years of increasingly responsible experience as a Senior Engineer with the City of Santa Clara.


  • Possession of a valid certificate of registration as a Civil Engineer issued by the California State Board of Registration for Civil and Professional Engineers is required.
  • Possession of a license as a Professional Land Surveyor in California is highly desirable.
  • Other certifications such as Qualified SWPPP Practitioner (QSP)/Qualified SWPPP Developer (QSD) are desirable.

Possession of an appropriate, valid Class C California driver's license is required at time of application and for the duration of employment.

The incumbent in this classification is required to file a Conflict of Interest statement upon assuming office, annually, and upon leaving office, in accordance with City Manager Directive 100.

Meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee admittance into the examination process.  Only the most qualified candidates who demonstrate the best combination of qualifications in relation to the requirements and duties of the position will be invited to test.   
Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. Please be informed that the City of Santa Clara will not sponsor, represent, or sign documents related to visa applications/transfers for H1B or any other type of visa which requires an employer application.   


Knowledge of:

  • Civil engineering principles, practices, and methods of planning, design, construction and maintenance of public works projects;
  • The strengths, properties, and uses of materials of public works construction;
  • Land surveying as it relates to urban municipalities;
  • Hydraulics, mechanical, structural, and sanitary engineering as they relate to public works projects;
  • Practices of real property description, land acquisition, and report writing relating to all above subjects;
  • Principles and practices of budgeting (operating and capital), communication, safety, contracting, leadership, human resources, information technology, public relations, project management, outreach, performance standards, records management, and resources to achieve outcomes and expectations;
  • Research methods and statistical analysis, complex spreadsheets, database applications, and project and workload planning;
  • Problem solving, and conflict resolution practices and techniques; and
  • Environmental and safety practices, procedures, and standards, e.g. OSHA, Federal, State and local rules and regulations.

Ability to:

  • Provide the leadership and management of the division through coaching, enabling, and facilitating employees working in a team environment;
  • Evaluate local, regional, Federal, and State regulations and assess impacts on the Public Works Department;
  • Identify, research, and gather relevant information from a variety of sources e.g. new trends;
  • Exercise sound and independent judgment, conduct independent analyses, and make recommendations on difficult and sensitive issues;
  • Anticipate potential problems, develop contingency plans when needed, and solve concurrent problems;
  • Create a culture that is conducive to change and one that is able to select, recruit, retain, develop, and motivate a skilled and talented workforce where everyone knows their mission, role, and job;
  • Work effectively as a member of the department's management team to achieve common goals and be able to deliver excellent customer service to both internal and external City clients;
  • Negotiate for the City with contractors, developers, and property owners;
  • Communicate logically and clearly including the presentation of technical reports, both orally and in writing, using multi-media to small and large groups and follow oral and written instructions;
  • Make effective use of information technology systems to enhance delivery of services, projects related to public works infrastructure, including asset management, maintenance management, work order tracking, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS); and
  • Walk or stand for extended periods of time and bend, stoop, crawl, climb, and lift as necessary to perform assigned duties.

Additional Information: 
You must answer all job-specific questions in order to be considered for this vacancy or your application will be deemed incomplete and withheld from further consideration. Applications must be filled out completely (i.e. do not write “see resume or personnel file.”)  To receive consideration for the screening process, candidates must submit a 1) Cover Letter, 2) Resume, and 3) Supplemental Questions. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Application packets may be submitted online through the “Apply Now” feature on the job announcement at  Applications must be submitted by the filing deadline of Monday, November 29, 2021 at 4:00 PM.

The City of Santa Clara is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants for all job openings will be considered without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status or any other consideration made unlawful under any federal, state or local laws. The City of Santa Clara is committed to offering reasonable accommodations to job applicants with disabilities. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please contact us at (408) 615-2080 or