Public Works Director
City of Council Bluffs, Iowa
Employees: 120
Population served: 62,000
Budget: $17 million; $15 million CIP

A public works director from 50 years ago would describe a very different work environment, but the job itself remains the same: providing quality infrastructure and services under the constant pressure of change.

“Infrastructure begins its deterioration toward obsolescence the day it’s built,” says Gregory Reeder. “Public demands and expectations alter with time. The political environment, state and federal regulations, and technology continuously evolve, requiring changes not only in our responsibilities but also in the way we deliver services.”

There’s a strong institutional tendency to “do it the same way we did it yesterday,” but maintaining the status quo leads to complacency and failure. It’s imperative to recognize changes in the challenges faced and respond with solutions that may be a little, or a lot, different than what was done previously.

“Be a strong communicator,” Reeder suggests. “Engaging the workforce to be a part of change is essential. To do so you must offer a strong sense of ethics, trust, integrity, honesty, and openness.”

More 2015 APWA Top 10 Leaders.