Recruitment #2204-5682-001


The Water Works Superintendent is appointed by the Mayor, and the appointment is subject to confirmation by the Common Council.The Water Works Superintendent serves at the pleasure of the Mayor.  

Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is an urban hub bursting with energy. Milwaukee provides a casual sophistication – big city appeal without the big-city hassles. We are accessible and affordable and our residents are welcoming. Milwaukee brings together its unsurpassed old world charm with a breathtaking art museum, top-flight arts and cultural attractions, professional sports, lakefront festivals, recreational opportunities and great restaurants.


The Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) is a national leader in providing high quality, healthful drinking water. The utility is owned by the City of Milwaukee, and policy is set by the Mayor and Common Council. MWW adheres to the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for facilities, operations, and water quality. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) sets water rates and service charges and monitors accounting. MWW purifies Lake Michigan water to provide pure and fresh drinking water to 860,000+ people in 16 communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties, in addition to providing water for sanitary purposes and fire protection. The utility has invested over $488 million in capital improvements since the mid-1990s, including replacing an unprecedented 18 miles of water mains in 2018. For more information about MWW, click here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/water#.W75TLk2ovF4.

The Position

The City of Milwaukee is seeking an enthusiastic public works leader to provide executive supervision and administration of the operation and maintenance of the Milwaukee Water Works (MWW). Under the direction of the Commissioner of Public Works, the Water Works Superintendent oversees all operations of the utility and 300+ professionals in the plants, distribution, business, engineering, and water quality work units. Responsibilities include the financial, technical, maintenance and repair, operational, developmental, public relations, and administrative functions of the utility. The ideal candidate will have an accomplished background in water resource or public works management – someone who will energetically and strategically build upon MWW’s history as Wisconsin’s longest continuously-operating water utility. The Superintendent directs and administers the MWW in accordance with city, state, and federal regulations and laws to ensure a safe, potable, and sufficient supply of water to consumers in a manner that is as efficient and economical as possible.  

The Department of Public Works, including Milwaukee Water Works, is fully committed to advancing and achieving racial equity and inclusion. DPW aims to demonstrate and foster a culture of inclusion, equity and social justice for our employees.

Essential Functions

  • Direct the treatment and distribution operations of the MWW, including the development of efficient and effective treatment and pumping of water, the installation and maintenance of an effective water distribution system, and other operations involved in providing water that meets and exceeds the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) water quality standards.
  • Direct the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of the physical plants, facilities, and equipment of the MWW. Maintain employee safety and security of facilities.
  • Direct the financial operations of the MWW. Develop and present recommendations for operating and capital budgets. Set priorities for and monitor spending. Oversee the preparation of rate change requests and other related reports and documentation to the PSC. Administer the assessment and collection of Municipal Services Bill charges.
  • Lead and manage the communication practices of the utility to maintain open and productive communication with the Mayor’s office and Common Council, customers, regulators, employees, other City departments, and external organizations.
  • Represent MWW at conferences, meetings of professional associations, meetings of community organizations, and other groups, and as the utility’s spokesperson with the media and general public.  

We welcome qualified individuals with disabilities who are interested in employment and will make reasonable accommodations during the hiring process in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

Conditions of Employment

Please be advised that new employees are required to have received either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prior to their employment start date or have an approved religious or medical accommodation prior to their employment start date. You can find further information relative to the City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/derAuthors/Policies/COVID-19EmployeeVaccinationPolicy.pdf

Minimum Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree in environmental science, chemistry, water resource management, engineering, business administration, public administration, or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  2. Five years of senior-level management experience with a large public works organization, utility, or similar entity.
  3. Valid driver’s license at the time of appointment to the position and throughout employment.

Equivalent combinations of education and experience may also be considered.  

IMPORTANT NOTE: College transcripts are required and must be emailed as an attachment to NNELSON@milwaukee.gov by the application closing date and time. Student/unofficial copies are acceptable; however, your transcript must be legible and include your college/university name, your name, the degree completed and the date completed.

Desirable Qualifications

  • A master’s degree in a related field.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities & Other Characteristics


  • Knowledge of and the ability to learn the operations of a water utility (water treatment, public finance, regulatory compliance, water quality, water distribution, or water engineering).
  • Knowledge of the principles and methods of government administration as they relate to the management of a public utility, including laws, regulatory requirements, policy development, and intergovernmental cooperation.
  • Knowledge of economics, budgeting, and marketing principles; human resources practices; resource allocation; and public safety and security issues.
  • Ability to read and interpret a wide variety of technical job-related documents.
  • Knowledge of mathematics to be able to understand water treatment processes, rates and billing, and budgets.
  • Ability to oversee finance, accounting, billing, procurement, and customer service functions and to understand the intricacies of a complex regulated financial environment.
  • An understanding of the capabilities of information technology to improve systems.


  • Leadership ability and supervisory skills to effectively manage direct and indirect reports.
  • Ability to facilitate and promote individual staff accomplishments toward organizational objectives, including shared responsibility, teamwork, and acceptance of change.
  • Ability to develop and implement strategic policies through effective delegation, persuasion, and negotiating skills.
  • Ability to develop and implement performance management strategies and measures.
  • Vision, imagination, initiative, passion, and flexibility.
  • Professionalism, diplomacy, honesty, integrity, ability to maintain confidentiality, and responsible stewardship of City resources.

Critical Thinking, Organization, and Strategic Management

  • Critical thinking skills to be able to creatively solve challenging, multifaceted problems and make sound decisions.
  • Ability to effectively plan, organize and manage competing priorities and challenges under pressure.
  • Administrative skills to plan, direct, and coordinate diversified functions of a large government enterprise agency and associated staff.
  • Strategic thinking and planning skills to be able to anticipate future opportunities while managing day-to-day operations effectively and efficiently.
  • Skill in managing large projects, facilities, contracts, capital planning, and facility condition assessments.

Communication and Presentation

  • Oral communication skills to be able to communicate effectively with the Commissioner of Public Works, staff, elected officials, wholesale, retail, and larger MWW customers, the news media, and regulatory and health agencies both during routine operations and under emergency conditions.
  • Presentation and public speaking skills to be able to address varied audiences and speak clearly, credibly, and professionally before committees and boards; ability to prepare rate cases and appear before the PSC.
  • Superior written communication skills to be able to write well-crafted policies, narratives, reports, articles, presentations, and correspondence.
  • Knowledge of customer service best practices and the ability to instill them within the organization.

Relationship Building

  • Ability to function effectively in intergovernmental relations, working with local, regional, state, and federal jurisdictions and agencies in a constructive and cooperative manner.
  • Skill in negotiating complex agreements with multiple stakeholders.
  • Interpersonal ability and political acumen to be able to work collaboratively and effectively with the Mayor, the Common Council, and other elected officials; other City managers; multilevel staff; contractors; consultants; academics; and customers from all socioeconomic, educational, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to build a diverse and culturally inclusive organization, managing with kindness and empathy while embracing a culture of innovation and accountability.

Current Salary

The current salary range (Pay Range 1OX) is $112,903-$147,335 annually, and the resident incentive salary range for City of Milwaukee residents is $116,290-$147,335 annually. Appointment above the minimum is possible based upon level of experience and other qualifications and is subject to approval.  


The City of Milwaukee provides a comprehensive benefit program that includes the following:

  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan
  • 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Health and Dental Insurance
  • Comprehensive Wellness Program
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Onsite Clinic Services
  • Onsite Employee Assistance Program
  • Alternative Work Schedules
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Tuition Benefits
  • Paid Vacation
  • 11 Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Leave and other paid leaves
  • Flexible Spending Arrangement
  • Commuter Value Pass

For full details of the benefits offered by the City of Milwaukee, please visit https://city.milwaukee.gov/der/benefits.

Selection Process

Screening for this position will be based on an evaluation of each applicant’s education, experience, and professional accomplishments, which should be detailed in a cover letter and resume.

  • Please send the following via email to NNELSON@milwaukee.gov by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 6, 2022 EXTENED TO - 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 13, 2022:
    • cover letter
    • resume
    • college transcripts
  • Please indicate “Water Works Superintendent” in the subject line.
  • Inquiries regarding the selection process may be directed to Nola Nelson by calling 414.286.5066 or via email at NNELSON@milwaukee.gov.  

The City of Milwaukee reserves the right to invite only the most qualified applicants to participate in the selection process.  

INITIAL FILING DATE: The selection process will be conducted as soon as practical after Friday, May 6, 2022 EXTENDED TO: Friday, May 13, 2022. Receipt of application materials may be discontinued at any time after this date without prior notice. However, recruitment may continue until the needs of the City have been met. The applicant is responsible for attending all phases of the job selection process at the time and place designated by the City of Milwaukee.


The City of Milwaukee values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.