Saturday, November 15, 2014

Railport, Engineering & Call Center

San Angelo's Development Corporation heard good news in their October meeting.  A national railport is looking for up to 500 acres and another call center company may test the waters.  Each project could bring 75 new jobs to San Angelo.  The development corporation board learned Engineering Services will shift from Planning to the new Public Works department headed by non-engineer Ricky Dickson.

It was odd hearing the talk of sustainable development, when our oil boom is its very antithesis.  San Angelo's leaders know what comes with rapid, widespread oil and gas drilling and they welcome it with open arms.  Water demands grow from drilling, which uses millions of gallons per well, and from population growth.

Rapid growth places great demands on community infrastructure.  Decades of underinvestment turned San Angelo's streets into crumbling chunks of asphalt and water pipes into giant soaker hoses.  This happened under Ricky Dickson's watch as Operations Director, where he supervised both street maintenance and water distribution.

Former Water Chief, now Public Works Executive Director Ricky Dickson scored engineering, as well.  The city doesn't have engineers to design fixes for our current infrastructure problems, much less address growth associated infrastructure demands.  It remains to be seen if Ricky's supervision solves San Angelo's deep engineering shortage.  I expect Ricky will do for Engineering what he did for San Angelo's streets and water pipes. 

It's fascinating to see Dickson follow Will Wilde's footsteps, although Will never had Executive in his title.

Bad leaders serve their interest, be it monetary, ego or power needs.  Good leaders serve others and leave things in better shape than when they started. The jury is out on San Angelo.  Something will be built.  It's likely it won't be maintained (like the water feed from Lake Spence).  We'll see how sustainable these executive arrangements are over time..

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