Public Works Operations and Maintenance

Public Employees Leadership Institute
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1. Transportation / Traffic
2. Roadway and street maintenance
3. Parks and conservation
4. Work zone safety
5. Waste / Wastewater
6. Paved and gravel road county maintenance
7. Stormwater runoff
8. Structures / Facilities

This course examines most aspects of the maintenance and operational tasks of local transportation departments and typical interactions of each, both with the public and often with one another. Traffic management and control; maintenance of roadways; and streets, gravel, culverts, and snow and ice control and removal are among the topics that are covered. Work zone safety, water and waste water treatment, park and cemetery operations, and the tasks of controlling storm water runoff and the management of an agency’s facilities and structures round out this course. By learning some the management issues and solutions in these various areas involved in public works, you, as a new manager, will better be able to handle situations with the public and your employees as they arise.

Once completed, participants should be able to:

  • Understand common public works vocabulary
  • Explain basic management elements of public works operations functions
  • Understand the scope of public works activities
  • Identify some of the major federal regulations and guidelines affecting various components of public works

City of West Des Moines Traffic Engineer

BS in Construction Engineering; Iowa State University
MS in Transportation Engineering; Iowa State University

Jim Dickinson is the Traffic Engineer for the City of West Des Moines. Prior to coming to West Des Moines, Jim was a consulting engineer for 25 years specializing in traffic engineering. Before getting into the engineering side of traffic, he supervised a construction crew installing traffic signals and roadway lighting for seven years. He has had the unique opportunity of experiencing traffic projects from both engineering and construction areas.

Jim is a graduate of Iowa State with a BS degree in Construction Engineering in 1974 and a MS degree in Transportation Engineering in 1979. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Iowa.

City of Cedar Rapids Operations Superintendent

BA; Scott Community, Davenport, Iowa
BS in Civil Engineering; University of Iowa

Michael Duffy is a veteran of the US Army, received his BA from Scott Community in Davenport, Iowa. He then went on to receive a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa as a 1998 Graduate.

He worked summers with Terracon while in school, doing mostly inspection work, then for Shive-Hattery from 1998 -2000 in site development and traffic and roadway design. He then moved on to Linn County, Iowa as the Operations Superintendent from 2000-2009 and was responsible for the maintenance of nearly 1200 miles of secondary Roads.

He has been the Operations Superintendent for the City of Cedar Rapids from 2009 to present.

Professional affiliations
Veteran of the US Army

Story County Conservation Board Director (retired 2011)

BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology; Iowa State University

Steve Lekwa grew up south of Story City along the Skunk River and graduated from Story City High School in 1967. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University in 1971.

He began his work for the Story County Conservation Board in 1973, serving 16 years as a park ranger-naturalist in residence at McFarland Park, five years as deputy director/special projects coordinator, and served as the director from 1994 until his retirement in 2011.

His special professional interests include wildlife issues, preservation of open space and natural areas, and prairie management. Steve remains active in church and District Committee of the Boy Scouts of America outside of work, along with recreation interests in hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, biking, canoeing, cross country skiing, etc.


City of Fort Dodge Engineer

BS in Civil Engineering; South Dakota State University Professional Engineer License

Chad Schaffer received his BS Degree in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University in 1996. He received his Professional Engineer License in 2001.

He worked at Snyder & Associates (Engineering Consulting Firm) in Ankeny for six years and then moved to the City of Algona as worked as the Public Works Director / City Engineer for five years.

He has been the City Engineer for the City of Fort Dodge since 2008.

Mahaska County Engineer

BS in Civil Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dave Shanahan graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Civil Engineering.

He has over 35 years experience in flood and erosion control, road maintenance and construction. He worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service for nine years before beginning work in the county engineering field for over seven years. After that he worked as the County Engineer in Cherokee County and has also served as the County Engineer for Page, Iowa, and Wabasha County in Minnesota.

He is currently the County Engineer for Mahaska County in Iowa.

Administrator of the Iowa Stormwater Education Program; Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities


Pat Sauer, CPESC, CPSS is the administrator of the Iowa Stormwater Education Program (ISWEP) for the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities . She coordinates this statewide educational program which includes the development of educational resources for cities and other organizations in Iowa involved with educating the public and staff on stormwater issues.

Pat also organizes training events statewide that address numerous aspects of stormwater and watershed management including pollution prevention. Pat works cooperatively with Rainscaping Iowa and the Iowa Stormwater Partnership to develop design guidance for stormwater practices.

Formerly City of Ankeny Public Works Administrator

BA in Education; Northern Iowa University
MA in Public Administration; Drake University

Al (Alan) Olson received his BA in Education from Northern Iowa University and a MA in Public Administration from Drake University.

He was the Public Works Administrator for the City of Ankeny. His regular duties involved coordinating all public works maintenance activities including snow removal, street repairs and the installation & maintenance of traffic control devices. Other duties included traffic control, storm water maintenance and running a variety of annual special programs.

Since 1988, Al was a member of the American Public Works Association (APWA). He served on the Board of Directors, was President of the Iowa Chapter of APWA, was the recipient of the Iowa APWA Chapter Leader of the Year Award and represented the Iowa Chapter as Delegate to the National APWA. Alan was also the recipient of the Stan Ring Distinguished Service Award. He also got Ankeny the APWA National Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award in 2012.

Alan Olson passed away in November, 2015.

Professional affiliations
2005 President of the Iowa Chapter, APWA
National delegate, Iowa chapter, APWA

Tom McDonald graduated from Iowa State University in 1964 with a degree in Civil Engineering.

After his graduation from ISU, Tom worked for the Iowa DOT in various capacities, including District and Developmental Engineer, until his retirement in January 1998. That same month, he went to work for ISU in the Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE), now the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) where he was employed at the time of his death in 2013.

Other Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding