New name and new boss for Dayton Utilities |

New name and new boss for Dayton Utilities

Teya Vitu

DAYTON – A new name and new boss are coming to Dayton Utilities.

The name will likely change next week to Lyon County Utilities, and Mark Clarkson is scheduled to become its manager Feb. 14.

Clarkson, a licensed engineer and a trained wastewater treatment plant operator, comes to Dayton from the Florida Department of Transportation, where he oversaw utility permitting in state rights of way.

“My sister has been trying for 20 years to get me to move out there,” Clarkson said.

His parents live in Carson City and his sister lives in Fernley. Clarkson has not lived in Nevada, but he is familiar with Northern Nevada after decades of going through mines and caves, especially in the Lovelock area.

Clarkson’s experience and the Dayton Utilities job specifications were a perfect match in the opinions of Clarkson and Dan O’Brien, Lyon County’s public works director.

“He had not only the engineering degrees, he also is a certified wastewater operator and water plant operator,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said none of the other 12 applicants had as extensive credentials with training and experience.

Clarkson earned a degree in civil engineering at San Jose State University and a master’s degree at Stanford University. He worked as chief treatment plant operator and regional engineer for the California State Water Resource Control Board and he was project manager in Brentwood, Calif.

He was also the first public works director at the City of American Canyon between Napa and Vallejo. The city incorporated in 1993 and is still seeking broad recognition.

“There are people who live within five miles of American Canyon who don’t know where it is,” Clarkson said.

Clarkson said he was intrigued by the Dayton job’s combination of building and operating water and treatment systems. He said few job openings offer both.

“I’ve built a lot of things and I’ve operated a lot of things,” Clarkson said.

Upon his arrival, Clarkson will oversee construction of a new treatment plant and a new water tank in the Mark Twain area in addition to the expansion of two wastewater treatment plants in Dayton. He will also be responsible for a study that will set new rates in the coming year, O’Brien said.

Dayton Utilities primarily oversees the multiple water and wastewater systems serving Dayton Valley, but the department also operates the water and sewer systems in the Willow Creek General Improvement District north of Yerington. Because Dayton Utilities also is in charge of several water systems elsewhere in the county, O’Brien is asking the Lyon County Commission next week to change the name to Lyon County Utilities.

Clarkson’s arrival will relieve O’Brien of direct responsibility of utilities.

O’Brien has worn several hats simultaneously since becoming Lyon County’s public works director/county engineer in November 1998.

Just prior to O’Brien’s arrival, the County Commission merged public works, parks and recreation, the road department and utilities under one director. Utilities remain under O’Brien’s responsibility but Clarkson will take on the day-to-day duties previously handled by O’Brien.

O’Brien didn’t hire a utilities manager in his first year as public works director because he wanted to become fully familiar with the system himself before bringing in a manager. Now, with increasing demands in fast-growing Lyon County, O’Brien is more than willing to let someone else fret over utilities.

“I cannot focus all my attention on utilities, ” said O’Brien, Carson City’s public works director from 1986 to 1993. “I’m scattered all over the county.”