PW Week Cover Photo


The City of Madison Engineering Division is proud to take part in the City’s weeklong 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:

Why is it important to work in Public Works?

“The City is responsible for many things that are critically important to people’s everyday lives. Public Works keeps the world running smoothly by making sure we have adequate roads, sewers, facilities, etc. We need good people in Public Works to make sure we have high quality infrastructure that people depend on.” -Chase O’Brien, Accountant, Engineering, Finance Section

“Because we provide the backbone infrastructure that is needed for everything else to function. Without safe, clean, efficient streets, sewer, water, and parks, not much else matters.” -John Sapp, CAD/BIM Manager, Engineering Technology

Public Works is a broad umbrella term that covers core and essential services that make Madison a City for people to live, work and thrive in. It feels good to be part of a team that delivers these services.” -Johanna Johnson/Lesley Parker/Heidi Fleegel, Program Assistants, Office Administration 

“Public works provide many basic needs of the Public. Safe drinking water, transportation facilities, safe disposal of wastewater, proper and safe management of stormwater, maintenance of continuous and open Public Right of Ways and the continuous maintenance of all of the facilities allow for commerce, housing and recreation improvements that allow the Public to work, live and recreate.” -Jeff Quamme, Land Information Manager, Land Information Official Map Section

It’s important to work in Public Works because we are the bond within the City. Not only do we bond all of the different parts of the City together, but we bond the City with the people too.” -Hattie Russell, Maintenance Technician, Facilities Maintenance Section

"The people in Public Works provide the backbone of a city, village, town, etc. so that all the other services and businesses can do their jobs. For example, the roads help EMS and residents get to where they need to go. The sanitary sewer keeps the sewage out of our homes/businesses and sends it to the plant to get cleaned. The stormwater system moves the water away from our homes/business so they don’t flood. The drinking water utility provides clean and safe water to homes and businesses. We keep things going so you can live your life the way you want to.” - Caroline Burger, Engineer, Stormwater Section

“It’s super cliché, but we’re building and maintaining the infrastructure that supports everything else that happens in Madison. The work at the Capitol depends on us. The work at the University depends on us. The work at the CCB depends on us. At the Courthouse. At the schools. At the Fire and Police Stations. And on and on. Streets, sewers, sidewalks, landfills, city facilities, and so much else. We’re the backbone of our city!“ -Stephen King, Facilities Services Coordinator, Facilities Services Section

"A great deal of our modern life especially in metropolitan areas depends on Public Works working at 100 percent every day. You only hear about Public Works when something goes wrong. Generally, the people working in this field are silent efficient and effective, it is rare when something goes wrong and well publicized when it does.” - Greg Fries, Deputy City Engineer, Storm & Sanitary Sewer Sections

It’s an often overlooked but critical way of actively participating in the development of your community. My mind is blown every time I learn more about the different roles within the City’s Public Works office and I find myself regularly re-evaluating the potential impact to the city if that role isn’t filled.” -Ike Okafor, Engineer, Streets and Paths Design Section

"The City’s infrastructure (streets, bridges, storm and sanitary sewers, water mains) are vital to the community and the long term growth of the City. What is unique about Public Works is that we not only identify problem, we determine a solution and see the final end product." -- Mark Moder, Principal Engineer, Sanitary Sewer Section

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Engineering and a link back to the original post.