COO Eric Dargan to be named among nation’s top public works leaders
SAN DIEGO – This week, the San Diego City Council proclaimed May 21 to 27 as National Public Works Week in San Diego, joining cities across the country in recognizing thousands of dedicated public works employees responsible for planning, building, maintaining and operating critical infrastructure, systems and services across our communities.
This year’s theme, “Connecting the World Through Public Works,” highlights the way public works professionals connect us physically, through infrastructure, and inspirationally, through service to their communities, no matter where we live in the world.
National Public Works Week started in 1960 as a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association (APWA) to bring awareness to the importance of public works in community life. It takes place annually during the third week of May.
During the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 23, the City of San Diego’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Dargan was recognized for being one of the APWA’s Top Ten Public Works Leaders. The award focuses on outstanding career service achievements and dates back to Dargan’s time as COO of the Houston Public Works Department, where he served for more than 20 years.
“Eric Dargan is the perfect example of what it means to serve the community through public works,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “Eric’s success in improving infrastructure and services over two decades in Houston is one of the main reasons I selected him as San Diego’s new chief operating officer. I am confident that Eric will continue to build on his already outstanding career achievements here in San Diego and share his passion for public works with city employees.”
“I am honored to be selected one of ten Top Public Works Leaders in the country and I thank the Texas Chapter of the American Public Works Association for nominating me for this award,” said Dargan. “Having worked in Houston, and now here in San Diego, one common thread between these two cities is the dedication and commitment of our public works teams who are passionate about improving our infrastructure and our neighborhoods. This award may have my name on it, but it’s a reflection of the men and women I partnered with in serving the community and strengthening the foundation in which all municipalities are built.”
Mayor Gloria recently proposed his “Getting It Done” budget for fiscal year 2024, which includes a $647 million budget for the city’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The mayor’s proposed budget aims to fund a variety of projects across the city with a focus on streets. The proposal allocates nearly $140 million in street repair and resurfacing, the most the city has invested in any given year. The funding would allow the city to resurface 157 miles of streets, including both full overlay and slurry seal.
“It is the mission of any public works employee to improve the quality of life of all communities through effective maintenance and upgrades to the city’s infrastructure,” said City Engineer Rania Amen, Director of the Engineering and Capital Projects Department. “It also includes planning for the future with projects that improve safety, accessibility and opportunities for future generations.”
This past year, several city CIP projects were recognized with industry or professional awards at national, state and local levels, including:
- The 30th Street Pipeline Replacement Project received the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Region 9 Outstanding Water Project Award. The project replaced more than five miles of aging and deteriorating cast iron and asbestos cement pipelines to prevent service disruptions and water main breaks in the densely populated areas of North Park, South Park and Golden Hill.
- The Chollas Water Operations Facility Project received the ASCE Outstanding Architectural Engineering Project Award. The project included site improvements like new utility infrastructure, parking, layout sheds, covered storage, landscape and hardscape while having little impact on the ongoing operations of the facility.
- The Ocean Beach Pier Emergency Project received the APWA Disaster/Emergency Project of the Year Award. The project repaired two piles of the Ocean Beach Pier that were damaged during a series of storm events and high surf.
- The West Mission Bay Drive Bridge Project received the APWA Structures Project of the Year Award. The project replaced the existing four-lane bridge built in the early 1950s with two separate three-lane bridge structures with protected multi-use paths. It is the largest bridge project ever completed in the City of San Diego.
- The AC Water & Sewer Group 1051 Project received the ASCE Outstanding Wastewater Project Award. The project replaced approximately a half-mile of asbestos cement water mains with polyvinyl chloride water mains as well as associated water services, fire hydrants, valves and water meters in Tierrasanta.
“These award-winning projects are all a testament to the hard work and dedication of public works staff across a number of city departments,” said James Nagelvoort, Director of the Strategic Capital Projects Department. “It takes a team to bring a project from planning to construction and beyond and we will continue building high-quality infrastructure across all communities to serve future generations of San Diegans.”
As one of the largest employers in the region, the City of San Diego employs hundreds of engineers and thousands of public works professionals. The City is currently recruiting for engineering positions.
For more information on CIP projects, visit the CIP website (https://www.sandiego.gov/cip/about) or search for projects throughout the City using the CIP Project Map Viewer (https://webmaps.sandiego.gov/cippublic/).
(City of San Diego Release)