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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

City superintendent settling into new job
Houston County Courier

By Jenna Duncan
News Reporter

With more than 10 years of experience with water and waster water utilities, Michael Dillow is settling into his job as Grapeland’s new city superintendent, although he admits there’s a learning curve. Since he’s a native of Fort Worth and not Grapeland, he doesn’t know everyone’s name yet. “I don’t get a lot of addresses. I get Mr. and Mrs.’ house down here, or Mr. and Mrs.’ house over here, and I’m like, ‘I need an address’ . . . but I’m working on it,” he said. “I’m learning a lot of them.” Dillow, who began working for the city about a month ago, has worked in water departments since high school. His longest Keller, where he started as a crew chief and over the course of 10 years worked his way up to a project superintendent. “I did a work program through Crowley High School, the school I went to, and they put me working for the city water department and that’s pretty much how I got involved in it,” he said. “I was going to work in parks, but they wanted me in (the water department) and that’s how it happened.” As project superintendent, Dillow oversaw all new construction and capital improvement projects for Keller, which has roughly 40,000 residents. In his day to day work there, he assigned work orders, worked on water main repairs and waste water utility maintenance. Most recently, he was the water utilities supervisor in Palestine for about a year, where he currently lives with his wife and their children. While Dillow noted this job has more responsibility than his previous positions, as he now also oversees water and wastewater utilities, streets and parks, he has come to embrace the additional duties as well as the small town atmosphere. He joined the department in the middle of a major street renovation project, which began in September to repave nine city streets, and during the planning process of creating a new water well for the city. Even with major projects in the works and underway, he said the department can handle it. “Everything’s a challenge - every day when you come to work you have different challenges, but I don’t see any challenges we can’t overcome,” Dillow said. “We’re doing really good here.” Since Dillow joined the department, he has implemented a new work order system, where city employees document the details of each task they complete and then keep the records. “That’s something they haven’t been doing before . . . nothing’s been documented. So we’re documenting everything we do now,” he said. In addition to the new work order system, he is also focused on keeping the department task-oriented, and holds a staff meeting every morning at 7 a.m., “bright and early”, to go over what’s going to be done throughout the day and assign tasks. The crew reconvenes around lunchtime, he said. “These guys have shown me nothing but respect, and I haven’t had any problems,” he said. “The staff has really made it pretty easy for me to transition, they really have.” Hopefully there will be another employee in the meetings in the upcoming weeks, Dillow said. He is interviewing candidates to fill a general labor and maintenance worker position. “It was made known to me when I came to work here that there was an open position, and I want to make sure we get that position filled,” Dillow explained. “It’s imperative to have all my positions filled - put someone to work. And that’s going to help the economy.” With the help of his staff and a relaxing commute to work, Dillow said he is happy to have found this job. “I like leading this department and I like the location,” he said. “I like where I’m at; that’s the great part about this job. I get to work out here in the country, see beautiful things every day, and not much of concrete buildings. “That’s what I like about my job the best. It’s peaceful to me. I can see deer on my drive to work, which is great for me and I love it.”


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