Following the exit of Dave Dextraz, the County of Wetaskiwin welcomed its new director of public works early this year.
Neil Powell comes to the county after having served as a transportation engineer with MPE Engineering Ltd. since 2008. Before that he worked with Lethbridge County from 1997 to 2008. “I had a similar position I do here.”
Powell is also originally from the Lethbridge area. “That’s where I grew up and started on a farm.”
Since starting his job with the County of Wetaskiwin just a few weeks ago Powell has spent his time getting acquainted with the area. “It’s all new to me.”
“It’s just a challenge to get to know the different communities,” he added. “Plus, it’s all new here. I don’t have a history with anything.”
When it comes to his professional career Powell enjoys meeting challenges and working to find solutions, as well as delivering quality service and working with people.
When faced with a challenge on the job Powell explains he likes to tackle it first by gathering all the information needed. He explains he listens to each side of the story as a solution generally lies somewhere in the middle. “Just try to be fair and non-biased. Just try to get the information, the right information.”
With previous experience in the director of public works role Powell has an idea of the kinds of challenges to expect; although the County of Wetaskiwin is quite different and will have different sets of challenges. The howling Lethbridge wind Powell let behind is one of the differences he made particular mention of.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing what the area has to offer. There’s some challenges here that weren’t down south,” said Powell.
Having also worked as a transportation engineer, Powell says his experiences there will add another dimension to what he brings to the county. “In this role I will have to deal with consultants like I used to be. I have that background. It’ll help streamline decision making.”
In the past, some of Powell’s favourite experiences have been building infrastructure, capital projects and new roadways, as well as working with staff and members of the public.