Carson City finds public works leader

After more than two months without a permanent director, Carson City's development services division has its man.

Andrew Burnham, who was the acting director, is taking over as the head of the city's public works programs. He manages five departments, including community development, streets, engineering, building and utilities.

The division, formerly known as the public works department, has been without a head since former Deputy City Manager Dan St. John left in May.

"We looked at the organizational structure, and felt creating a director's position was more appropriate," City Manager John Berkich said. "Andy will become sort of the team leader of the development services group. That's really where his focus will be."

The former community development director for Douglas County, Burnham was a partner in an engineering firm before coming to work for Carson City a little over a year ago.

Burnham started with the city as the capital projects manager, moved to engineering service manager and, now, development services director.

"I didn't expect this at all. It has evolved over the year," Burnham said. Being the boss "certainly has its good points, but there's a lot of work that goes with it."

While Burnham's education is in environmental and resource planning, he has worked with engineers through his career.

"I speak the language," he said. "I'm not a registered engineer, but I can run engineering projects without a problem."

The city also hired Larry Werner, former Carson City public works director, to work with Burnham as the city engineer.

Werner worked in the same private engineering firm with Burnham and also served as Douglas County's public works director.

"I'm excited about getting back into public works stuff again," Werner said. "It's always a challenge, and the city is facing a lot of challenges right now, the freeway bypass, storm water drainage. I'm looking forward to starting."

While the city employees several engineers, Burnham said the city needs a strong lead engineer to round out the department.

"We worked together for a number of years, so we're going to be a great team for the city," Burnham said. "We know each other well enough to know each other's strengths and weaknesses and that will provide some real solid direction for the city."


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