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The City of Madison Engineering Division is proud to take part in the City’s week long celebration of its work and its agencies during Infrastructure and Public Works weeks. Each day this week, we’re hosting a blog panel: focusing on one question, and answers from staff across our agency. We asked our staff, and here's what they said:

What is one example where we’ve been resilient and ready in public works that you can remember?

“Definitely the floods of August 2018. It was all hands-on-deck and impressive to see the entire department get things done so quickly and effectively.” -Chase O’Brien, Accountant, Engineering-Finance Section

“Transition to work from home in the early days of the pandemic. We had a lot of dedicated and creative staff in our group and in IT come up with new ways to do our work collaboratively. Across agencies, many were willing to reform processes to work remotely. Still working on alternate ways of doing our work to further enhance resiliency.” -John Sapp, CAD/BIM Manager, Engineering Technology

“Public Works is constantly adapting. From ramping up the number of public works contracts during the Great Recession (post 2008) to responding to the August 2018 flood to installing solar on City facilities, Public Works responds to challenges.” -Johanna Johnson/Lesley Parker/Heidi Fleegel, Program Assistants, Office Administration

“The floods of 2018. I feel Engineering was very proactive in predicting impacts and warning the public.” -Jeff Quamme, Land Information Manager, Land Information Official Map Section

“The flood of 2018 was a huge wake-up for me. I was working on the Green Power crew when this occurred, and it was all hands on deck. Watching the City come together in an emergency like that really changed my perspective. The amount of people volunteering to sand bag through all hours of the day was incredible. All of the departments really worked hard together to get us through it.” -Hattie Russell, Maintenance Technician, Facilities Maintenance Section

“Atwood Avenue near Olbrich Park is going to be reconstructed soon. Engineering checked the design with the watershed study computer models. This resulted in a slight modification to the design to help our stormwater system be more resilient.” -Caroline Burger, Engineer, Stormwater Section

“The Dairy Drive encampment. Tasked with a huge lift on a very difficult timeline. Whole City pulled together to make it happen for those that really needed the help. Really proud of that one.” -Stephen King, Facilities Services Coordinator, Facilities Services Section

“The obvious answer would be how well we’ve handled and adapted to working through the COVID pandemic. Having an empathetic leadership and team mates also made an incredible impact to me and the projects I worked on.” -Ike Okafor, Engineer, Streets and Paths Design Section

"Our Engineering Operation Staff have done a remarkable job maintaining sanitary sewer service to the customers as a result of having a proactive approach of identifying problem in the sewer system and increasing preventive maintenance (cleaning) for the problem sewer. Some sewers require spot repairs or lining, full replacements while others just need to have increased frequency of cleaning. This maintenance strategy has had overwhelming success. The City has averages less than 25 backups per year since 2014 and Cities the size of Madison have 64 backups or 232 backups according to National Standards (Emmons Municipal Benchmark, and American Society of Civil Engineers). Citywide, we had sewer 12 backups in 2021 and 10 backups in 2020.” -Mark Moder, Principal Engineer, Sanitary Sewer Section

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