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Lake County, IL - Director of Public Works - Water and Sanitary Sewer Services

Lake County, IL  (pop. 703,462)   Lake County, IL located in northeastern Illinois along the shore of Lake Michigan, 30 miles north of Chicago, seeks dynamic, progressive local government executives with proven leadership skills as candidates for its next Director of Public Works. This Is a unique opportunity to lead regional water and wastewater projects that impact the entire county.  Candidates must be skilled negotiators, have experience in the oversight of large capital projects and be genuinely interested in and excited about involvement in the managed growth of a large county that has urban, suburban and rural character.   The Public Works Department operates and maintains the County’s Waterworks and Sewerage System – the highway and road system is maintained by a separate department.

Lake County residents enjoy a tremendous quality of life that provides just the right balance between work and play – from our beautiful recreational areas and waterways, outstanding forest preserves, to superb shopping experiences, and other entertainment venues, to our top notch schools, and global industry that help make our economy strong, Lake County promises the comforts of the suburbs with the pleasure of the city. To learn more about what makes Lake County special, visit

Lake County is a large, complex organization consisting of more than 30 departments and divisions that provide services including law enforcement, water and sewerage treatment, public health, criminal justice, transportation, public works, land use planning, building inspections, and emergency management.  The county has 2,800 employees, a $450 million budget and is governed by a 21 member elected Board. The Lake County Department of Public Works is a $40 million enterprise fund and the provider of critical water and sewer services to 25,000 retail water/sewer customers; 160,000 wholesale sewer customers; and 19 wholesale sewer contracts.  The department has 95 employees in seven divisions including Administration, Engineering, Finance/Billing, Laboratory, Maintenance, Meters, and Operations.  With respect to wastewater, the department operates three water reclamation facilities with a total average day flow of 24 mgd; 12 local and regional sewer systems totaling 368 miles; and 73 pump/lift stations. The department is also responsible for 12 public water systems totaling 300 miles of water main with a total average day flow 5.5 mgd; 8 elevated water towers; and 10 ground storage reservoirs.

The ideal candidate:

  • Strategic thinker who can bring leadership skills and excellent relationship building abilities to the position. 
  • Possess an understanding of water, wastewater and sewer systems.
  • Strategic thinking skills related to contract negotiation and system expansion.
  • Must be able to distill technical information into understandable oral and written presentations with the ability to build consensus among competing interests. 
  • Leadership and management skills are very important.
  • Ability to lead a complex organization utilizing modern management practices and strong communication skills.

Important skills include:

  • Contract negotiations,
  • Knowledge of water, sewer and wastewater systems,
  • Capital improvement programming and implementation,
  • A commitment to innovation and best practices.  

Minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public administration, public policy, business, engineering or related field.
    • MPA/MBA or Professional Engineering designation a plus.
  • Ten years of progressively responsible experience in local government or public utility management
    • Significant experience at a senior level interacting with elected officials and other stakeholder groups.   
  • Executive leadership in the military highly valued.

Starting salary range is $150,000 - $165,000 depending on qualifications and experience.  Excellent benefits package.  Apply online with resume, cover letter, and contact information for five professional references at once but no later than April 10, 2017 to the attention of Heidi Voorhees, President GovHR USA, LLC, 630 Dundee Road #130, Northbrook, IL  60062 Tel:  847-380-3243.         

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