Public Works Director Receives Top Award

Arlington Heights Public Works Director Receives Top Award
Posted on 04/14/2019
Scott Shirley, Public Works Director

Scott Shirley, Arlington Heights Public Works Director, is adding his name to the prestigious list of Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year recognized by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for 2019. This award recognizes individuals whose work reflects the highest standards of professional conduct for public works officials. Scott will be honored at the annual APWA conference in Seattle Washington on Monday, September 9.

“This award is a powerful testament to Scott’s abilities and accomplishments throughout his career,” said Village Manager Randy Recklaus. “Residents of our community have benefitted from his dedication and innovative leadership. His leadership style brings a unique combination of individual empowerment and high standards to his team. During his tenure, Scott has created a “can-do” culture at Public Works, and has introduced new technologies and best practices that have resulted in the delivery of improved services to our residents.”

Scott became Public Works Director for Arlington Heights in 1999, following six years as Public Works Director in Des Plaines. As Arlington Heights Public Works Director, Scott oversees 102.5 full-time employees. Just recently, Scott worked with the Village Manager in merging the Village’s Engineering Department with the Public Works Department. This merger helped streamline process flow and project work for the Village since the responsibilities of Engineering closely coordinated with many functions of Public Works.

The responsibilities of Public Works includes maintaining all municipally owned property, buildings  and vehicles as well as maintaining Village streets, sidewalks, trees, landscaping, water and sewer systems, street lights and traffic signals. 

As Public Works Director, Scott has had a positive impact on the Village through his many accomplishments as a leader. Currently, the Village is embarking on two key stormwater control projects that were identified through studies spearheaded by an interdepartmental team that Scott led. This team studied the Village’s entire stormwater system to identify, develop, prioritize, and fund a series of improvements to improve the Village’s sewer system capacity. 

Another example of his innovative leadership arose when the Village faced the removal of over 10,000 parkway trees infested with the Emerald Ash Borer. Under his direction, the Public Works staff developed a popular “People’s Choice” cost-share option that allowed residents the choice to treat parkway trees that they wanted to preserve.

Scott and his team has also been instrumental in the Village’s growth by providing  design, construction, and maintenance of a newly remodeled Public Works Facility, new Downtown Train Station, a new Fire Station, a new Village Hall, and, most recently, a new Police Station.

Scott’s successful leadership style was also tapped for multi-jurisdictional programs that benefited Arlington Heights, including his participation in a consortium of communities pursuing Municipal Aggregation of electricity supply. During the Village’s participation in Municipal Aggregation, from 2011- 2017, residents and small business owners saved an estimated $6.3 million.

He also serves as the only non-Village Manager on the Northwest Water Commission, and he has held several roles with the APWA, serving on the Suburban Branch Executive Committee, once as President, and the Chapter’s Expo Committee.
Scott is committed to his Public Works staff. He encourages the education and career advancement of staff and is an advocate for everyone. He believes the talents of his staff are the foundation of a progressive Public Works Department and capitalizing on employees’ unique talents is what makes the organization function at its highest level.