General Superintendent

Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, LA | Full-time

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The Position

The General Superintendent is a very competent and skillful Engineer whose primary responsibilities include the efficient administration, operation, and control of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) water, sewerage, drainage, and power infrastructure systems. This position reports directly to the Executive Director as well as the Board of Directors (Board). However, the appointment of the General Superintendent is made by the Board, and the General Superintendent serves at the pleasure of the Board.

Work comprises managing the overall operations and resources of the General Superintendent’s Office (GSO) including the direct supervision of the Deputy General Superintendent of Operations, Deputy General Superintendent of Engineering and Services, and Deputy General Superintendent of Power and Pumping.  These three enterprises collectively comprise the divisions of Water Treatment, Networks, Support Services, Facilities Maintenance, Power Generation and Distribution, Drainage and Sewerage Pumping, Engineering/Construction, Environmental Affairs, Program Management, and Technical Services. This position establishes policy and provides strategic leadership, coordination, and mentorship to deputy general superintendents, division heads, and department heads as applicable to ensure that organizational goals are achieved. The General Superintendent ensures operating and capital goals, objectives, and key milestones are achieved on time and within budget.

The General Superintendent provides technical expertise, information, and assistance to the executive leadership team, the Board, and other agency personnel, and provides strategic and tactical guidance to deputy general superintendents and division heads. The position supervises and reviews the work of the overall SWBNO operations, including direct supervision of the three deputy general superintendents; establishes and monitors management controls to ensure safe work practices, work quality, and accuracy; and ensures compliance with applicable regulations, rules, policies, and procedures. Work also includes delegated authority for hiring, training, assigning, evaluating work, and disciplinary actions. Additionally, this requires coordination with SWBNO emergency response to ensure continuous services of sewer, water, drainage, and power, which is a vital function of this role.

The position liaisons with other departments, divisions, outside agencies, committees, and boards and actively facilitates communication among the departments and across the organization, bridging the gaps within the organization. In the role, the General Superintendent continuously monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of current policies and procedures. This position also coordinates City-wide projects and programs and reconciles the interdependencies among them.

In addition to managerial duties, the position requires the examination, check, and verification of complex statistical and operating reports for completeness, adequacy, and accuracy, personally following up on the more complicated discrepancies. The General Superintendent reviews and analyzes complex engineering reports, maintains regulatory compliance, and corresponds with all relevant internal and external organizations.  The leader will negotiate and resolve sensitive and controversial issues; respond to and resolve difficult and sensitive citizen inquiries and complaints; and is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and procedures, which includes Standard Operating Procedures, across all enterprises. In addition, the General Superintendent assigns programs, projects, and work to all departments.

Priorities

  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with the Executive Director, Board of Directors, Department directors, and other key staff. Listen and learn about the current operations of the Board and the needs of each Department.
  • Develop and launch a new utilities Master Plan that addresses goals and targets at 5-year, 10-year, and 15-year milestones.
  • Build, implement, and maintain a new asset management work order system and a standardized process for responding to and prioritizing calls for services.
  • Maintain focus on and implement multi-year, transformational projects while being a good steward of the agency’s Capital budget and continuing to improve public trust in the agency.
  • Work to streamline processes, simplify decision-making, identify opportunities for efficiency, and drive uniformity in business endeavors, all through an equitable focus.
  • Foster a welcoming and collaborative organizational culture. Create opportunities for employee engagement, growth, and development with a focus on programs that support retention, building and promoting future leaders, and empowering employees.

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

SWBNO has served as a model agency for much of its existence. The organization is a quasi-City/State entity that is an unattached Board of the City Government created by the State Legislature and governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors (Board). The Board consists of the Mayor as chair, the chair of the City Council’s Public Works, Sanitation and Environment Committee (or their designee), two representatives of the Board of Liquidation, and seven citizen members, of which five represent Council districts and two consumer advocates. The seven citizen members are nominated by a selection committee composed of locally recognized leaders and reflect the diversity of the community. Two citizen members are consumer advocates with community advocacy or consumer protection experience, or experience in a related field.

The Board is authorized to administer the construction, maintenance, and operation of the Water, Sewer, and Drainage Systems for the City of New Orleans. The SWBNO also provides some services to neighboring parishes. It appoints an Executive Director who serves at the pleasure of the governing Board and oversees the day-to-day operations of the SWBNO, including drinking water, wastewater, and drainage activities in Orleans Parish, as well as the power systems to support them. Recently, the SWBNO has gone through a reorganization resulting in three Enterprise systems which include Engineering, Operations, and Pump and Power.

The SWBNO has over 1,000 employees and serves a population of over 400,000. The Utility’s 2022 operating budget was $224 million with $124 million coming from water revenues and $156 million from wastewater. Drainage revenues come from ad valorem taxes of $60 million. Additionally, SWBNO has a 10-year $1.4 billion capital program.

The Ideal Candidate

The next General Superintendent is a visionary and collaborative leader who is energized by the opportunity to drive innovative organizations like SWBNO at the highest level. The ideal candidate will have a great deal of experience in the management of a large utilities’ operation and vast experience as a professional engineer in an operations role at a utilities-related organization. A deep understanding and knowledge of utilities’ operations including water purification and distribution, wastewater treatment, drainage and pumping, power generation and distribution, environmental compliance and regulations, facilities maintenance (facility, building, grounds, fleet), plumbing, and networks is essential to the success of the next General Superintendent.

Overall management of a large staff of professional, technical, and clerical employees is essential to the success of the ideal candidate. The ideal candidate is a future-oriented changemaker who provides the framework and the drive to achieve goals, objectives, and plans for SWBNO. As a true leader, the next General Superintendent provides guidance, counseling, and advice to all employees within the GSO regarding problems that can be resolved by legal, scientific, clinical, or professional principles.

With a commitment to customer service and engagement, the successful candidate is team-oriented, establishes clear expectations, and provides transparent communication while effectively delegating and holding others accountable. The next leader will have the ability to present technical information to audiences, including but not limited to the Board of Directors, City Council, and community groups, in a clear and concise manner that is consistent with communication standards. A natural convener and collaborator, the ideal candidate recognizes the importance of relationships and partnerships at all levels, both internally and externally. Additionally, the next General Superintendent will be highly skilled at navigating turbulent political environments and comfortable with dealing with resistance to change.

Essential to the success of the next General Superintendent is the knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology, which includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services. Additionally, experience with 25-cycle power generation and distribution is desirable.

The City of New Orleans

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the state of Louisiana. The Greater New Orleans metropolitan area had a population of over 1.25 million in 2020. The City of New Orleans is one of the United States’ most culturally rich and historically significant cities, from its colonial neighborhoods to Mardi Gras to its festivals and award-winning food scene and everything in between.

The City is more than just an internationally renowned visitor destination. New Orleans is considered one of the fastest-growing “traditional” cities, according to the U.S. Census. Serving as a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

New Orleans has a Mayor-Council form of government where the City Council consists of seven members, five of who are elected by district, and two at-large members. The Mayor serves a four-year term. Both the Council and the Mayor are limited to two consecutive terms. New Orleans’ government is largely centralized in the City Council and Mayor’s office.

Offering a host of family-friendly neighborhoods and City events, a thriving youth sports environment, and an engaging arts scene, the City never fails to have something for the family to do. With dozens of music venues, theaters, museums, and multiple professional sports teams there truly is something for everyone, and every lifestyle, in New Orleans. New Orleans is an intellectual hub with seven universities, three HBCUs, two medical schools, two law schools, a dental school, a public health school, and four community and technical colleges.

  • 2022 “South’s Best Food City” by Southern Living Magazine
  • 2022 #3 Destination in the U.S. for City Lovers by Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice
  • 2022 #2 happiest travel destination in North America by Club Med
  • 2022 #2 on the Top 10 U.S. Cities list by Travel + Leisure
  • 2021 Time's list of World's Greatest Places 2021 by Time

Experience and Education

Minimum requirements include any combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in an Engineering Discipline (Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, or Electrical Engineering degree preferred), or related technical field that lends itself to the management of a large utilities’ operation. Fifteen years of experience as a professional licensed engineer in an operations role in a utilities-related organization is required. Additionally, eight years of administrative and supervisory experience is required. Registration as a Professional Engineer (PE) and current license to practice in Louisiana. Any applicant who is not registered as a professional engineer in Louisiana must, if hired, show proof of such registration within the first six months of hire.

Compensation

The expected hiring range is $200,000 - $230,000, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on March 6, 2023.

Questions

Please direct questions to Pamela Wideman at pwideman@raftelis.com and Robert Colichio at rcolichio@raftelis.com.

 

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