Principal Civil Engineer

Lake Forest, California
$109,536.00 - $142,392.00 Annually
Nov 23, 2021
Dec 23, 2021
Position Type
Chief / Principle
Contract Type
Organization Type

All applicants must apply on our career page:

The City of Lake Forest Public Works Department seeks an state-of-the-art Principal Civil Engineer for the Engineering Service Division.  The Principal Civil Engineer will manage public works Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) in the planning, engineering, and construction phases; and oversee the work quality of the civil engineering design and land development projects.

Past and current projects include annual street resurfacing, annual slurry seal, Lake Forest Traffic Mitigation (LFTM) projects, Foothill Circulation Phasing Plan (FCPP) projects, Neighborhood Park Renovation projects, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramp projects, amongst others.
The Public Works Department is dedicated to providing high quality public facilities and services to the Lake Forest community. The Department serves the community by developing, constructing, and maintaining the public infrastructure, which includes all public streets, sidewalks, storm drains, traffic signals, landscaping, parks, buildings, and solid waste collection services. In addition, the department checks plans, inspects grading and infrastructure construction for new developments, and implements the City's Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The department consists of five divisions Administrative, Maintenance and Landscape, Engineering, Traffic and Water Quality/Environmental.

Under general direction, performs complex professional level duties in support of the City's engineering services and activities including leading and managing public works capital improvement projects in the planning, engineering, and construction phases and the review of civil engineering design and land development projects; reviews civil engineering design and developer plans and specifications; assures compliance with legal statutes and engineering standards; and responds to questions and inquiries from the general public, developers, contractors, engineering professionals, and City staff regarding engineering and development projects.

Examples of Duties

The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements or duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the class.

  • Prepares precise and detailed engineering reports and specifications describing Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects for contracts, requests for proposals (RFPs), and grant applications; prepares agenda reports for all phases of the project.
  • Leads and participates in the design, preparation, and review of construction plans, site investigations, cost estimates, and other required contract submittals and required documents; recommends appropriate changes.
  • Provides project management for all phases of the project: consultant selection, design, public outreach, construction, and post-construction; conducts field inspections of construction sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to engineering plans, specifications, and construction and safety standards.
  • Evaluates the engineering qualifications of consultants that are retained to provide engineering services and presents recommendations; administers assigned professional services contracts involving civil engineering studies and projects.
  • Plans, assigns, and evaluates the work of assigned professional and technical engineering staff involved in the preparation and submission of engineering plans, specifications, and reports.
  • Interprets City engineering standards and policies and analyzes the feasibility of engineering designs and estimates labor and material costs; recommends approval of change orders in consultation with engineering management personnel. 
  • Coordinates civil engineering and construction projects and activities with other departments, agencies, utilities, and affected parties, including work being completed in public rights-of-way. 
  • Coordinates with environmental agencies in the preparation and implementation of environmental and regulatory permits.
  • Prepares and presents status reports related to engineering projects and studies.
  • Confers with other department employees and representatives of governmental agencies, public utilities and contractors to obtain information pertaining to the preparation of plans, specifications and cost estimates and to the coordination of contract requirements. 
  • Responds to questions and inquiries from the general public, developers, contractors, engineering professionals and City staff regarding engineering and development projects. 
  • Establishes justifications for critical actions on public works projects such as condemnation of public property, amendment of consultant contracts, and change orders to construction contract. 
  • Informs the public and press of the progress, schedule, and impacts of projects; investigates and responds to citizen inquiries or complaints concerning public works and civil engineering projects.
  • Coordinates with property owners and businesses affected by capital improvement projects. Represents the City effectively in meetings with commissions, community groups, governmental bodies, the media, and the public. Performs related duties as required.


Typical Qualifications

The following generally describes the knowledge and ability required to enter the job and/or be learned within a short period of time in order to successfully perform the assigned duties.

Knowledge of:

Operational characteristics, services, and activities of an engineering program; principles and practices of civil engineering related to the design of public works projects and other improvements; Subdivision Map Act and land development standards, regulations, and local requirements; engineering project management practices; methods and techniques of contract negotiations and administration and consultant oversight; methods, materials, and techniques used in the design and construction of civil engineering projects; methods and techniques of engineering plan review and analysis; methods and techniques of conducting site and field investigation; right-of-way acquisition policies and practices; labor and material cost estimation practices; construction methods; environmental and regulatory agency permit practices; contract administration practices; modern office procedures, methods, and computer equipment including personal hardware and software applications; uses, capabilities, and operational characteristics of specialized engineering information technology hardware and software; principles and practices of record keeping; principles of leadership and supervision; pertinent federal, state, and local codes, laws, and regulations.

Ability to:

Perform professional engineering duties involved in the design, development and construction management of a variety of capital improvement projects; operate personal computer to utilize word processing and spreadsheet software; review and check complex engineering designs, computations, plans and studies; plan, coordinate, and manage public works engineering programs within established budgets and project requirements; train, supervise and evaluate the work of professional and technical employees; serve as project manager on one or more Capital Improvement Projects; perform engineering computations and calculations; interpret and apply the policies, procedures, laws, codes, and regulations pertaining to public works programs and functions; plan, lead, and conduct engineering projects and studies; prepare and present clear engineering technical reports and recommendations; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing; establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.


Licenses/Certificates/Special Requirements:


A valid Class C California Driver's License and the ability to maintain insurability under the City's Vehicle Insurance Policy. Registration as a Licensed Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the State of California.



A typical way of obtaining the knowledge, skills and abilities outlined above is graduation from a four-year college or university with a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a closely related field and five years of professional civil engineering design and review experience, including project management duties and supervisory experience; or an equivalent combination of training and experience.   Supplemental Information


The physical and mental demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by employees to successfully perform the essential functions of this class. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this class, the employee is regularly required to work in
an office setting and in a field environment; to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time;
to occasionally stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, reach, and twist; walk on uneven terrain,
loose soil, and sloped surfaces; to lift, carry, push, and/or pull light to moderate
amounts of weight; to operate office equipment requiring repetitive hand movement and
fine coordination including use of a computer keyboard; to travel to other locations; to
operate equipment and vehicle; and to verbally communicate to exchange information.
Specific hearing abilities required by this job include hearing in the normal audio range
with or without correction. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close
vision and the ability to adjust focus.

Mental Demands

While performing the duties of this class, the employee is regularly required to use oral and written communication skills; read and interpret data, information and documents; analyze and solve problems; observe and interpret data and situations; use math and mathematical reasoning; perform highly detailed work under changing, intensive deadlines, on multiple concurrent tasks; learn and apply new information or new skills; work with constant interruptions; and interact with City officials, media, citizens groups, employees and others encountered in the course of work, including occasionally dealing with conflict situations.

Work Environment

The employee works primarily in a standard office environment with some travel to different sites and locations; incumbents may be required to work extended hours including evenings and weekends and may be required to travel outside City boundaries to attend meetings.