• A municipal engineer works to make the city a civilized place to live, work and play. They do this through the management of a wide range of infrastructure, acting as the link between the citizen and politicians.
  • In the past, municipal engineers were employed by councils but are now, more often, employed by consulting engineers, contractors and partnerships. The traditional work of highways & bridges, traffic & lighting still forms a major part of the workload, but is increasingly supplemented by a range of schemes that can embrace everything that makes a city function properly. The design, planning, commissioning, maintenance and management of streets and town centers, parks and public places, leisure facilities and public buildings, water supply and drainage, domestic and commercial waste recycling.
  • Municipal engineers also play an important role in the checking of structures for compliance with Building Regulations.

Will Manchester
Director of Public Works,
City of Minnetonka

Meet a Municipal Engineer

What do you want people to know about working for a local agency?

Working for a local agency gives you a great variety of experience, not only related to the field of public works and engineering, but expanding to a range of other professions including community development, finance, legal, recreation, police and fire to name a few.  At many times, you are working closely with these groups which allows you a wide range of job growth and experience in many areas.

What attracted you to work for your current employer? 

I was working for a consulting firm in a neighboring city, and had just completed a project in the City of Minnetonka.  The staff was very good to work with and a number of my colleagues knew the city engineer at the time and encouraged me to apply.  I had been working on a number of smaller cities and it was a great opportunity to work for a city on the public side of things.  Also, Minnetonka had a great reputation and was well respected.

Briefly describe your career path? 

Following college, I worked at a consulting firm in Plymouth, MN.  For the first three years, I did construction inspection, which allowed me to work outside on construction projects and learn in the field how street, utility, wastewater, trail, park, and facility projects, to name a few, were built from the construction side of things.  I had a great mentor who helped me make sure we were covering the expectations of our client cities.  Following, I moved into the office as a design engineer on these same types of projects, putting together plans and specifications to build projects.  Working in the field prior was extremely valuable to this role as I saw firsthand challenges of translation of paper to the actual construction.  During my role as a design engineer, I got my professional engineering license, and moved to a project manager taking the lead on client cities as the city engineer, as well as company client service manager.  After 7 years in consulting, I moved to the City of Minnetonka, MN as a Project Engineer, Assistant City Engineer, City Engineer, and now to my current role as Director of Public Works.  As the Director of Public Works I currently oversee Engineering, Street Maintenance, Park Maintenance, Utilities, Facilities, Fleet and Natural Resources. It is a great variety of work, challenging, and fun!

When you reflect on your younger self, can you identify any hobbies, interests, or characteristics that led you to your current position/career? 

My mom used to tell me stories of how when I was really young, before I could walk, she would put me in an area of toys and I would stay busy for hours.  My job today is very busy and there is always something to do, so I continue to stay busy to this day.  Also, when I was my younger self, I always liked to build things and enjoyed math and science.  Further, my father was an engineer and talked about projects and building things start to finish.  It all stuck with me!

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