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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 something that continues to surprise you about working in Public Works?

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, some new challenge will come along that you’ve never seen before. Public Works can be predictable (planned replacements) and unpredictable (responding to emergencies) all at the same time.” -Chase O’Brien, Accountant, Engineering-Finance Section

Problem solving—when unique or difficult challenges come up, everyone puts their heads together to find the best solutions. Solutions evolve based on experience and we strive to learn from mistakes when they inevitably occur.” -John Sapp, CAD/BIM Manager, Engineering Technology

“Providing front line customer service is an opportunity to experience how many different ways Public Works impacts people each and every day. We can go from receiving calls about current road construction projects, to assisting with permit applications, to installing a rain garden.” -Johanna Johnson/Lesley Parker/Heidi Fleegel, Program Assistants, Office Administration

“It is something that is at times taken for granted, at least until something is not working or is in need of repair or replacement.” -Jeff Quamme, Land Information Manager, Land Information Official Map Section

“Something about Public Works that continues to surprise me is the un-deniable support. The support from peers to one another and the support to the public when crazy things like a flood or a pandemic occur.” -Hattie Russell, Maintenance Technician, Facilities Maintenance Section

“Many times Public Works jobs are “thankless jobs”; Public Works professionals find themselves receiving more complaints than praise. Regardless, the people that work in Public Works show up each day and give their best. They go above and beyond all day, every day, and especially when there’s an emergency like a water main break or a flood.” -Caroline Burger, Engineer, Stormwater Section

“Just how many different things we get into!” -Stephen King, Facilities Services Coordinator, Facilities Services Section

“The technical parts of Public Works evolve relatively slowly but the process to implement public works has an continues to change rapidly in terms of public input and involvement.” -Greg Fries, Deputy City Engineer, Storm & Sanitary Sewer Sections

I’m always surprised by how passionate and dedicated every staff member is on every project, and how that has translated to improvements to our design standards and infrastructure.” -Ike Okafor, Engineer, Streets and Paths Design Section

“What has always impressed me is how everyone understands how their individual roles are critical to the Public Works project success.” -Mark Moder, Principal Engineer, Sanitary Sewer Section

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