Public Works and Utilities Newsletter

Paving The Way For A Brighter Future By Educating, Engaging And Empowering Our Employees.

Technology Roadmap 2014

PWU Technology Services (formerly CEIS) is committed to providing high-quality, technical support. It has changed to a department-wide service focus and has initiated several major projects for 2014:

Novell to Windows File Storage Project

The City-wide file storage system migration project has arrived at PWU. The physical servers running Novell will be moved to a MS Windows virtual server cluster at the Information Services (IS) data center. Recent migrations from XP to Windows 7 desktops revealed conflicts with Novell. The Novell infrastructure will be replaced City-wide in support of the upcoming XP to Windows 7 upgrade project. The PWU portion of this effort is scheduled to be completed in March. Changes to the computer environment include file storage locations and the scanning process. IS will do the migration, with Technology Services staff assisting users throughout the process.

XP to Windows 7 Upgrade Project

Beginning April 8, support for the Windows XP Operating System will no longer be available, so all XP computers need to be updated to Windows 7. About 150 existing XP computers have Windows 7 licenses requiring only a software upgrade to make the transition. Another 250 computers will need to be replaced. This migration will affect several applications that will require updates and patching to work with the new Windows 7 environment.

Network Speed Upgrade

The move to the Municipal Services Center (MSC) has led to concerns over Internet speed. Our Director has committed to upgrading the PWU fiber backbone from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabit by July. This upgrade will affect all users of the fiber system. IS will support the project by upgrading the Internet service contract from 50 megabit to 250 megabit.


The completion of these three projects creates a single, unified technology environment, which provides ease of support and a consistent quality of user experience. With all digital files stored in a Microsoft file structure and all computers running Windows 7 with an upgraded network backbone, PWU will be in a position to implement a centralized document management system.

A Day In the Life of...

Fleet Services Team keeps you moving to keep Lincoln moving.

Fleet Services was established in 1977 as Equipment Management (sometimes referred to as Mainstem due to the Information System used). In addition to the name change, it has gone through consolidations with the Parks and Recreation Department and Public Utilities, increased the fleet from 300 to 900 units and reduced staff from 11 mechanics to nine technicians. Fleet Services now uses a state-of-the-art information system driven by a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. Its well-trained staff is housed in a modern, well-designed facility and is dedicated to maximizing the productive life of equipment.

Technicians never have a "normal" workday. As a service-oriented operation, staff schedules are driven by customer needs and/or emergencies. They work with over 65 classes of equipment and over 100 brands. With advances in technology and systems, technicians take on tasks that did not exist a few years earlier.

Sign Shop keeps Lincoln safely moving in the right direction.

With six full-time and three seasonal employees, the Sign Shop achieves quality results with limited staff. They fabricate and maintain 36,000 signs across the City. They also paint about 200 miles of street striping every year. Staff also maintains pavement crosswalks, arrows, parking stalls, railroad-crossing markings and raised pavement markers and inspects for road rehabilitation projects involving markings and signing.

At the 7:30 a.m. meeting, the supervisor distributes work assignments and shares information such as safety tips. Staff loads trucks with supplies and deploys either alone or in groups, depending on the assignment. Crews may be sent to install, replace or repair a sign. From April 15 to October 31, they may be painting centerlines or repairing crosswalks, arrows, parking stall lines or railroad crossing markings. Crews also help with events such as house moves, marathons, the Uncle Sam Jam celebration and Nebraska football games.

Strong Lincs

There Is No ‘Division’ Among Our Divisions.

- Miki Esposito

PWU Director Miki Esposito is pleased to announce the Strong Linc Award recipients for the workplace principle of patience. Please congratulate these Strong Lincs for their valued service:

Larry Jochum (ES Street and Traffic Operations)
Larry receives weekly complaint calls about the signal system. He is patient in working with callers and explaining signal-timing issues.
Greg Topil (ES Street and Traffic Operations)
Greg regularly receives calls from people wanting immediate resolution about right-of-way issues. When he contacts property owners, they are often upset about what he asks them to do. In both instances, Greg is patient and understanding while trying to resolve the issues.
Tim Hunt (ES Street and Traffic Operations)
Tim shows great patience when working with trucking companies on over-dimensional permits. They are not always pleased with the routes and conditions placed on them. Tim calmly listens, explains the processes and talks them through the procedure.
Tina Queen (Engineering Services)
Tina receives numerous complaint calls about sidewalks. She patiently explains why a sidewalk is not fixed, despite the fact that the person might have called some time ago. Tina is also patient in working with people on sidewalk reimbursements.
Kris Humphrey (Engineering Services)
Kris was more than patient while working with her staff to set up the seating chart for Engineering Services' new location.
Ellen Wright Watershed Management
One of Ellen's responsibilities is to coordinate the Landscape Water Quality grant program, which provides a 50/50 cost share for individuals to incorporate stormwater best management practices on their property. The applicants' opinions of what should be allowed are sometimes in conflict with the grant requirements. Ellen handles these "differences of opinion" in a very professional and patient manner.
Tan Pham (Watershed Management)
Tan works with several divisions in PWU and other departments with the City to coordinate the "Accela Automation" software and the division's GIS needs. He also assists in the "Fiber Cable System" initiative. Many of the projects' goals are "first time" accomplishments with many people involved, so achieving the objectives is no small task. Tan listens, takes notes, creates requested products and tests each application to make sure people have what they need to do their jobs most effectively with the tools available.
Kevin Hayes and Patrick Schroeder (Wastewater)
Kevin and Patrick demonstrated patience when working a 10-hour shift on New Year's Day. They responded to a combined water main break and sanitary sewer backup that affected multiple properties. They spent most of the day knocking on doors to determine whether property owners had damage, listening to their stories and documenting the event.
Mike Sanford and Jeremy Lackey (Solid Waste Management)
Mike and Jeremy operate refuse bulldozers at the active working area at the landfill. They remain patient and courteous under the most trying situations, including extreme weather conditions. In an eight-hour day, they orchestrate the movement of as much as 1,200 tons of refuse and 300 trucks – an average of about one truck exchange every two minutes. They show patience with all drivers who want to unload at their own pace and in their personally selected "slot" at the tipping area.
Tom Lawson and Bonnie "Lou" Campbell (Solid Waste Management)
With all the public and operations activity at the Gatehouse, these two always present themselves with patience and calm. They are never quick to show negative emotions toward any situation, and their patience helps others to demonstrate the same attitude when dealing with their own situations.

In addition to the staff recognized in the last newsletter for collaboration, the following employees deserve recognition for assisting with smooth traffic management for football games. Thanks for stepping up to help create an enjoyable Husker fan game-day experience!

(ES Street and Traffic Operations) Don Gunning, Leroy Heier, Nancy Nelson Jeff Adams, Mark Donner, Tim Toy, Kyle Williams, Matt Stevens, Todd Lange and Travis Laughlin
(Water) Sandra Finn and Todd Stevens

Blahak Accepts New Position

Congratulations to Chad Blahak, who recently left PWU to accept the position of Building and Safety Director/DSC Manager. Chad has a BS in Civil Engineering and an MBA from UNL, and is a licensed professional engineer. Chad officially took over his new position January 2.

Engineering Services Has Moved!

Our new address is
949 West Bond Street
Suite 200
Lincoln, NE 68521
The phone numbers remain the same.

Thanks to all the employees of Engineering Services who have been waiting patiently to make the move to a permanent home in the 949 building at the MSC.


Big Red Express

StarTran's Big Red Express service experienced record ridership in 2013 with a 19-percent increase over 2012. "With the slight increase in the fare from $4 to $5 this year, we are pleased with these ridership results," said Transit Manager Mike Davis. "We would like to encourage everyone to utilize this service for getting to and from each home football game and help decrease the vehicular congestion downtown. It's safe, it's efficient, and most of all, it's fun!"

StarTran Big Red Express

Stuff the Bus

StarTran will team with Three Eagles Communications, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club for the 15th annual Stuff The Bus event April 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to donate new items for Friendship Home, a 24-hour emergency shelter for women and their children experiencing domestic violence.

Evening Bus Service

In addition to its extended UNL bus service ending at 9:30 p.m., StarTran will offer evening bus service from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. several nights, including March 15 (Saturday before St. Patrick's Day) and New Year's Eve. Based on availability, riders can Get on Board! at designated locations outside downtown or reserve a time for home pick-up. The cost will be $1.75 one-way or $3.50 round trip. StarTran passes will be accepted.

For more information, visit or call 402-476-1234.

Humphrey Presented Mayor's Award of Excellence

Kristen Humphrey, a Senior Engineer in the Engineering Services Division since 2004, received the Award of Excellence for November from Mayor Beutler at the December 9 City Council meeting. Kris was recognized in the categories of customer relations, loss prevention and productivity for her work on the Antelope Valley Project. She has been Project Manager since 2008.

During the first of two audits, the State found no wrongdoing. The second audit by federal authorities began in 2010. After the initial review, it appeared that more than $29 million spent on the project might not be eligible for federal reimbursement. If that was the case, the City would have to provide local dollars to pay for the project.

Kris dug into records dating back to 1995 to find requested documentation. Her "dogged and seemingly endless efforts" produced documents proving the City had spent the federal funds appropriately. Additionally, she was able to show that the City was eligible for an additional $3.1 million in federal reimbursement. Kris estimated that she spent about 1,400 hours on the two audits.

Kris Humphrey receives her Award of Excellence from Mayor Chris Beutler

Upcoming Events

March 15
StarTran Evening Bus Service
8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
March 20
Spring Contractor Meeting
Firefighters Hall
March 26 and 27
Earth Wellness Festival
Southeast Community College
April 4 Launch Date
Rain Barrel Art Project
Displayed at SouthPointe Pavillions and available for purchase in April
April 12
UNL Red-White Spring Football Game
Big Red Express Shuttle Service
April 12 and 13
15th Annual "Stuff the Bus" for Friendship Home
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations
April 23 and 24
Spring Safety Meeting
Firefighters Hall

More PWU Events...

Upcoming Construction Projects

2014 Construction Season Projects (keyword: projects)

2013 Tank of the Year

Thousand of tanks were painted.
200 tanks were nominated.
10,627 votes were counted.
12 tanks were chosen.

The water reservoir at 56th and Pine Lake landed in the top five, earning it a place in the Tnemec Company's Tank of the Year Calendar. The minimalist design is based on the City's new branding initiative. With its vibrant blue hues and glossy finish, it serves as a billboard reminding residents to conserve.

Find out more at:

Lincoln's painted reservoir was one of Tnemec Company's Tanks of the Year

Sidewalk Funding 2014

Those participating in the Taking Charge public engagement process identified the maintenance of streets and sidewalks as a top priority. The City has proposed about $4 million for repair of deficient sidewalks and curb ramps throughout the City. Because of the large number of repair locations, construction is divided among several packages for bidding in February. Construction is anticipated to begin this spring and continue into 2015. The initial bid packages will address about 1,400 locations identified as priority areas, those identified with a two-inch or greater grade separation. The packages will be divided by geographic regions – northwest Lincoln, northeast Lincoln/downtown, and south Lincoln. A future package will include additional sidewalk repairs based on availability of remaining funds.

All available issues

June/July 2013 PDF 

  • Respect And Civility At Work
  • City Resources
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Condolences to Jeff Grove's Friends and Family
  • Service Awards
  • Something For The Kids: Dig Into Reading
  • Stormwater Runoff
  • Mayor's Award of Excellence for April
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – City Council Approves Drought Rates
  • Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners
  • Flashing Yellow Arrows

April/May 2013 PDF 

  • Spring is Here!
  • Davis to Serve as StarTran Transit Manager
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Whisenhunt Presented Mayor's Award of Excellence for January
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Morris Receives March Award of Excellence
  • Employee Training and Recognition Event
  • Golden Shovel and Platinum Pen Awards
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Managing the Cost of Electrical Power
  • Summer Water Restrictions Again Possible

February/March 2013 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: Laying the Groundwork
  • Call Before You Dig
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Condolences to Warren Wondercheck's Friends and Family
  • 2013 Home & Garden Show
  • Welcome Frank Uhlarik!
  • StarTran Stuff the Bus
  • StarTran 31-Consecutive Day Bus Pass Has New Lower Price!
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Funding Utility Services
  • Lincoln's Biosolids Land Application Program: 20 Years Old and Going Strong
  • PWU Recognized at NWEA Conference

December 2012 / January 2013 PDF 

  • Lincoln Water System Utility Supervisors Vital to Asset Management
  • StarTran 2012 Big Red Express
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Brian Dittmann and Steve Titus are Retiring!
  • PWU Teams Up With Lincoln Public School Students
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Engineering Services
  • Municipal Services Center Continues Renovations
  • PWU Praised for Cooperative Efforts

October/November 2012 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: We Endure
  • City of Lincoln Wellness Program
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • September Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • The Drought of 2012
  • Prepping for Snow
  • Wellness Initiatives
  • StarTran Serves 2,000,000 Riders

August/September 2012 PDF 

  • Public Works and Utilities Runs Defense
  • VoIP
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Leadership Link Manager of the Year
  • July Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • Taylor Buss: Public Works and Utilities Ambassador
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Asset Management: A Commitment to a Sustainable Community
  • Wastewater FROGs
  • StarTran Receives Environmental Leadership Award

June/July 2012 PDF 

  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – "Color of Money"
  • Sidewalks: A Change in Responsibilities
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • John Ottoson is Retiring!
  • Kennedy Receives Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • Public Works Day Celebrated During Waterfest
  • 2011 Mayor's Award of Excellence Honorable Mention: Jose Regueira
  • June is National Safety Month
  • Safety is Director's Top Priority
  • Compost Program Nearing Anniversary
  • Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners

April/May 2012 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: Who We Are
  • E-mail "Alerts"
  • National Public Works Week
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Service Awards
  • February Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • PWU Active in Sustainability Events
  • Stuff the Bus
  • Double Roundabout Wins Prestigious ACEC Honor Award
  • 56th and Elkcrest Water Main Breaks
  • Clean Water Program
  • Golden Shovel Award

February/March 2012 PDF 

  • PWU Director Esposito Appoints Marketing Committee
  • Snow Removal Effort Receives Multiple Compliments
  • Employee Kudos!
  • Terry Ullsperger Receives Award From HBAL
  • 2012 Home & Garden Show
  • StarTran Sees 20 Percent Increase in Ridership Over Two Years
  • City Has Filled More Than 7,000 Potholes This Winter
  • We're Listening: Why does it take so long to clear my cul-de-sac?

Marketing Committee Members

*Newsletter Committee Member

Kitty Elliott
Clay Engelman
*Kris Humphrey
Lance Loschen
Kyle Williams
*Meagan Pratt
Michelle Zuhlke
Rock Krzycki
Gene Hanlon
*Michele Abendroth