Location: Milwaukee, WI

Commissioner of Public Works

Salary: $120,339-$147,335 annually

Closing: 6/24/2022

The Department of Public Works (DPW), comprised of the Administrative Services, Infrastructure and Operations Divisions, and the Milwaukee Water Works, has a high standard for quality customer service and innovative and efficient infrastructural maintenance. DPW employees deliver efficient operation of public works services 24 hours a day. Our DPW employees contribute to the quality of life and economic development of Milwaukee in many ways: providing clean, safe water; fostering the growth and beauty of the urban forest and boulevards; completing sewer, water and paving projects on or ahead of schedule; controlling snow and ice to keep streets safe; and providing reliable and efficient solid waste and recycling collection. DPW is responsible for the design, maintenance and operation of streets, sidewalks, alleys, bridges, sewers, water mains, underground conduit, telecommunications services, traffic signals and street lighting for the City of Milwaukee, encompassing 96 square miles, 200+ City buildings, over 4,500 vehicles, 120+ miles of boulevards, and 200,000 street trees.

The Position
The City of Milwaukee is seeking an energetic, innovative public works leader to oversee the Department of Public Works (DPW). The ideal candidate will possess the passion, vision and public works leadership experience to work tirelessly to build upon the DPW’s proud history and to strategically lead the DPW forward. Current Initiatives:

  • The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, is a modern fixed-transit network that attracts and retains investment, business, and talent – creating jobs, improving quality of life and increasing vitality.
  • Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the City will modernize its street lighting system by replacing 29 electrical circuits during the next four years, impacting 79,000 streetlights.
  • Milwaukee has nearly 200 miles of bike facilities along its streets and on its trails. The City is expanding multimodal opportunities by partnering with not-for-profit Bublr bike share, launching two dockless scooter pilots, and collaborating with the Milwaukee County Transit System.
  • Federal infrastructure funds will accelerate the progress of the Milwaukee Water Work in replacing lead service lines.
  • The City utilizes the public right-of-way to enhance community activities, including a popular outdoor dining program and permitting special events citywide, including the Bucks Victory Parade.
  • Public improvements for several major projects are underway throughout the city, including street construction, sidewalks and installation of fiber and copper infrastructure.
  • The Compete Milwaukee program, ongoing since 2014, connects unemployed Milwaukee residents with opportunities to gain meaningful work experience. The program provides paid transitional jobs and career pathways trainings with a goal of equipping residents with the skills needed to compete for family supporting employment.

Essential Functions

  • Strategic Leadership: Lead the DPW in strategic planning and monitor progress and informatics toward strategic goals; ensure that DPW leadership participates in and facilitates ongoing community assessment and planning in partnership with other stakeholders. Establish and enforce accountability mechanisms for all divisions in the DPW. Direct the pursuit of funding from a variety of sources to address priorities identified through strategic planning.
  • Management of Leadership Team: Coach, support and assess managers in achieving organizational and professional improvement goals; identify and implement measures of success and accountability. Create and promote leadership development and succession planning opportunities. Continuously monitor the organizational climate to ensure a high level of staff morale and a culture of inclusion.
  • Asset Management, Sustainability and Accountability: Ensure that public works projects are administered in a manner consistent with local, state and federal laws and regulations. Ensure that the infrastructure is well maintained and contributes positively to the health, welfare and prosperity of residents, businesses and visitors. Serve as an advocate for sustainability.
  • Community Engagement and Collaboration: Communicate regularly with staff, policymakers and the public, through in-person meetings, community forums and other venues. Ensure that the DPW has mechanisms and strategies for obtaining feedback and input from persons with diverse backgrounds and ensure the consideration of the role of cultural, social and behavioral factors in the accessibly, availability, acceptability and delivery of services.
  • Administration: Review and approve the Department’s annual budget, including operating, capital and enterprise funds (revenue generating enterprises). Serve as the contracting officer for the City on all contracts for public works. Establish and administer all special assessments. Serve as the primary spokesperson for the DPW or identify other subject matter experts within the DPW based upon the topic.
  • Public Works Advocacy: Draft and review local regulations that address emerging public works needs and challenges. Educate and engage local, state and federal policymakers about funding and policy changes needed to address current and emerging public works issues and maintain and promote active involvement in peer professional organizations. Mobilize support amongst the public and policymakers for policy changes that will positively impact Milwaukee’s infrastructure. Serve as a chairperson or member of various special committees and task forces as prescribed by the Mayor or Common Council.

Minimum Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Public or Business Administration, Engineering, Urban Planning or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  2. Five years of progressively responsible senior management experience overseeing a large multi-functional public works, engineering or construction organization.
  3. Valid driver’s license at the time of appointment and throughout employment.
  4. IMPORTANT NOTE: Equivalent combinations of education and experience may also be considered.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Public or Business Administration, Engineering, Urban Planning or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  • License as a Professional Engineer (P.E.), with eligibility for registration in Wisconsin.

How to Apply

  • Please send a cover letter and resume via email to by 4:59 p.m. on Friday, June 24, 2022.
  • Please indicate “Commissioner of Public Works” in the subject line.
  • Inquiries regarding the selection process may be directed to Kristin Urban by calling 414.286.8643 or via email at