Tucker Talk


Scott Tucker


by L. Scott Tucker
Timely Comments from the District's Executive Director

The Urban Drainage and Flood Control District had another successful year in 2000. New planning projects were initiated and others completed, many developer projects were reviewed and approved, undeveloped floodplains were purchased, drainageways and floodplains were maintained, assistance to local governments in meeting their NPDES permit requirements continues to be provided, basic research in best management practices to improve stormwater quality is continuing, many capital projects were initiated and completed, a major undertaking to completely revise the Urban Storm Drainage Criteria Manual was initiated, South Platte River activities expand each year, and the flood warning program continued to grow and flourish. All programmatic areas were extremely busy and productive, the accounting and finance people are keeping track of an ever increasing number of activities, and the secretarial support staff are running hard to keep up with their critical work.

But, success is also measured over a period of time and not just a year at a time, and the District’s long term success and success in 2000 is attributable to the people that get the job done. I would like to focus this article on recognizing the hard work of an experienced, committed and dedicated staff. By reading the articles in this issue of Flood Hazard News you can see what I mean and one has to wonder how so few people get so much done.

Ben Urbonas is Chief of Planning and the South Platte River Programs and has been with the District for 24 years. His staff includes Project Engineer Bryan Kohlenberg, Project Hydrologist John Doerfer, and Engineering Inspector Ken MacKenzie. Bryan has been with the District seven years, John ten years and Ken four. In addition Ben has two student interns, Tracy Thurau and Dave Kurtz, helping with research and data collection efforts. Ben and his staff coordinate and manage all of the drainage and flood control master planning projects which totaled over $800,000 in 2000, maintain facilities along 40 miles of the South Platte River, implement cooperative projects on the South Platte in cooperation with public and private property owners, develop basic data related to the right-of-way and geomorphology of the South Platte, implement a major effort to revise the Criteria Manual, and continue to provide assistance to some 37 local governments working to meet their stormwater NPDES permits.

Bill DeGroot is Chief of the Floodplain Management Program and has been with the District for 27 years. His staff is comprised of Project Engineers Kevin Stewart and Dave Mallory. Kevin and Dave have been with the District seventeen years and three years respectively. They review all proposed drainage plans prepared by developers that are submitted by local governments for our review. Approval of developer constructed facilities makes them eligible for the District to maintain them. They also delineate flood hazard areas, assist local governments in administering floodplain regulations, coordinate FEMA efforts, collect flood damage data and document flood flows after flooding events, operate and maintain the District’s flash flood warning program, distribute notices to floodplain occupants, continue developing a District GIS capability, and are continuing development of the Cooperating Technical Community (CTC) program with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dave Lloyd is Chief of the Design and Construction Program. Dave’s staff consists of a Project Engineer, Paul Hindman, and a portion of the time of a student intern, Chris Rozelle, shared with Bill DeGroot. Dave has been with the District 19 years and Paul 16. Dave and Paul manage over 80 design and construction activities that are in various stages of negotiation, right-of-way acquisition, design or construction. Another Project Engineer position is being added to the Construction Program in 2001 to help Dave and Paul keep all their projects going. All projects are in partnership with local governments and typically Dave and Paul manage the design process and the local government partner provides construction administration. However, the District is also the construction contract administrator on projects where the local government does not have the capabilities to manage a complex construction project. In 2000 over $12,000,000 of design and construction work took place and about $20,000,000 is scheduled in 2001. Dave and Paul would probably agree that constructing a project is in many cases easier than getting all the funding is place, reaching agreement on what to do, and obtaining all the environmental permits that are required. All design and construction work is performed by private contractors.

The Chief of the Maintenance Program is Mark Hunter who has been with the District twenty years. Mark’s staff includes two Project Engineers, Dave Bennetts and Cindy Thrush, and two Engineering Inspectors, Mike Sarmento and Jeff Fisher. Dave has been with the District eighteen years, Cindy two years, Mike thirteen years, and Jeff two years. In addition there are four student interns working in the Maintenance Program that primarily help with inspection of routine maintenance work. The main thrust of Mark’s group is managing the maintenance service contracts which includes routine, restoration, and rehabilitation projects that are identified in a Maintenance Work Program. In 2000 there were about 340 individual maintenance projects ranging in size from $100 for a small trash and debris pick up to over $400,000 for a large rehabilitation project. These consisted of about 250 routine maintenance commitments, over 70 restoration projects, and about 20 rehabilitation projects. All work is performed by private contractors which in 2000 included seven routine contractors selected annually and five restoration contractors also selected annually. Rehab projects are larger projects that require design plans and specifications and each project is bid separately through a formal competitive bid process.

All this work could not get done without a crackerjack support staff. Frank Dobbins, Chief of Finance and Accounting, keeps financial track of all the projects with the help of Darla Schultz, an independent accounting contractor. Frank has been with the District for fifteen years. They provide monthly reports that monitor all revenues and expenditures for the hundreds of projects going on at any one time plus all other District activities. Good financial control is an absolute necessity to good management. In addition they administer the personnel and benefit programs of the District such as health insurance and keeping track of vacation time and all the other things that need to be done to keep people happy.

The glue that keeps us all going is the secretarial and front office support staff. This operation is managed by Sandy Gonzalez, Administrative Secretary, who is assisted by Secretaries Galene Bushor and Margaret Corkery. Sandy has been with the District for four years, Galene twenty years, and Margaret just joined the District in November. They answer the phones, type the letters, get the mail out, help the public, keep track of all our plans and reports, manage the filing system, order and keep track of supplies, and do all the things that make the rest of us look good but take for granted. In addition Sandy is the "go to" person for all the office related projects that continuously need doing such as remodeling the office, negotiating office equipment contracts, researching new purchases, setting up Board meetings and working with Board members, designing and implementing a new secretarial computer system, and developing a new data management system for the myriad of names, addresses, companies, vendors, etc we need to keep track of, to name just a few.

If I didn’t miss anybody that totals up to nineteen full time people including myself and six student interns. It is a small staff that gets a lot of work done. We like what we do and are proud of what we do. This is confirmed by the fact that the average years of service with the District for present employees is over thirteen years. I would like to acknowledge and thank them all for a job very well done.

Cover Story ] Viele Channel ] [ Tucker Talk ] Master Planning ] Stormwater Permits ] Construction ] Maintenance ] South Platte River ] Professional Activities ] Awards ] Software ] Seminar ] Floodplain Management ] Flood Warning ]