Ted Carlson, director of Bellingham's Public Works (PW) department since 2009, is leaving the City to become the general manager for Sanitary Service Company (SSC), effective Aug. 15.
Carlson became Public Works director after first serving as assistant director for PW Operations. He was named to the top post following a national search when the former director resigned.
Carlson has worked for municipalities in Washington State and specifically Public Works in various capacities for 30 years, beginning as a maintenance worker before advancing to become superintendent at Lake Forest Park, Wash. He then became Kenmore's first Public Works employee when the city incorporated.
He was hired at Bellingham Public Works as the Great Recession was beginning. In an August 2009 article in the Bellingham Business Journal, Carlson said the challenge was to preserve and maintain the City's transportation and utility infrastructure amid declining revenue.
During his tenure, Bellingham Public Works has recovered from the impacts of the national economic downturn and broadened its role in delivering City services. Public Works, the City's largest and most comprehensive department, now includes a Natural Resources division with responsibility for preserving, restoring and protecting Bellingham's environment. Public Works also includes Engineering and Operations, which includes among other programs, the water utility, sewer utility and transportation network.
Over the past decade, Carlson has overseen a major renovation at the City's wastewater treatment plant at Post Point, the addition of a Dissolved Air Flotation pretreatment facility at the water treatment plant, and development of the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian master plans.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Bellingham," said Carlson. “I have truly enjoyed my time here and value the relationships built over the years."
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville is expected to name an interim Public Works director shortly and begin a national search for Carlson's replacement.
“I am very sorry to see Ted go, and I am glad he will be staying in our community," Mayor Linville said. “Ted oversaw many essential projects in Public Works during his 12 years with the city, including redevelopment of our waterfront and several large sewer and water plant additions and renovations. He reorganized the Public Works department to put further emphasis on our Natural Resources division, which matches our community focus on environmental stewardship and sustainability. He is level- headed, a mentor for our City leadership, and an active participant in bringing our City teams to life. He always understood that the public is our customer. I enjoyed working with him, and I will miss him."