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The original item was published from 4/17/2009 10:21:46 AM to 5/18/2009 12:00:04 AM.

News & Announcements


Posted on: April 17, 2009

[ARCHIVED] City Restructures Utilities and Public Works Departments

Change comes to all things in time and with a recent departure and upcoming projects, now has become the right time for the City of Burlington to reorganize its current Utilities and Public Works Departments. Changes will include shifts in personnel, as well as different divisions moving within the current municipal structure. By shifting and adding additional responsibilities to certain department head positions, the City will be able to save the equivalent of an additional administrative leadership position. “Part of this process will help flatten our administrative structure and reduce some associated costs in this difficult economic period,” said Harold Owen, City Manager.

With the recent departure of Steve Shoaf as the City’s Utilities Director, the City immediately began a hiring process to fill the much needed position. After searching for several weeks, the City decided that the best candidate was already a Burlington employee. Robert C. Patterson, Jr., PE, the City’s current Public Works Director, has been selected to head the newly restructured Department of Water Resources (previously Utilities). In addition to managing the previous Utilities Department functions, Patterson will also transfer over the City’s stormwater management duties from Public Works to Water Resources.

“This seemed like a natural fit,” said Owen. “Most water resource offices around the country include stormwater within their structure; we’re very fortunate to have someone with Bob’s expertise to fill the gap that Steve Shoaf left.”

Patterson is no stranger to public water systems. An engineer by trade and education, Patterson earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Youngstown State where his emphasis was on Environmental Engineering. Patterson began work with Burlington in 1997, progressing through the ranks from Civil Engineer to most recently Public Works Director in 2008. “I’m looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead,” said Patterson. “It’s a difficult time to address infrastructure needs, but I continue to work towards the Department’s goals of keeping our water infrastructure strong and viable.”

Patterson’s departure from Public Works will be marked with the entrance of Nolan P. Kirkman, PE, currently the City’s Director of Transportation and Technical Services. Kirkman will continue to maintain his present duties while taking several additional responsibilities including the management of the various Public Works divisions such as Sanitation and Streets, as well as Fleet, Cemetery and Building Maintenance. Kirkman, who also joined the City in 1997, combines his engineering education from NC State with numerous inspections and contracting licenses to bring a diverse skill set to the position. Kirkman served as the Project Engineer for the design/construction/operation of the Burlington-Graham Computerized Traffic Signal System which was installed during his tenure. The 175 signal, $5 million dollar project brought the City’s traffic system up to modern standards which improved the City’s overall traffic flow.

“It’s a pleasure to continue my service with the City in this capacity,” said Kirkman. “While this is a challenging time for our community, I look forward to the opportunity of taking an active role in helping to address many of our community’s concerns… this will largely start with the various economic stimulus projects available to the City.”

Changes in the departments are scheduled to take effect on Monday, April 20. There will be no change in service; however, certain personnel may have different phone number extensions and mailing addresses. These will be posted to the City’s website,, as soon as they become available.

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