New public works director plans to innovate San Jose infrastructure

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California Construction News staff writer

After a nationwide recruitment, Matt Loesch has been hired as San Jose’s new director of public works.

“Although not typically thought of as a racial equity driver, one of the great aspects of working in public works is that we oversee critical programs that can help advance racial equity in our community, from wage theft prevention to disadvantaged business programs, to how we prioritize infrastructure maintenance, to where we guide infrastructure investments — all of these decisions can have powerful equity outcomes,” Loesch said. “This is why I am excited to shepherd in a new era of modern engineering and maintenance of our built environment.”

Loesch started working at San Jose in 2001 as an Engineer I for the public works department utility section. Through a series of promotions, he became a division manager in the technology services division, leading the modernization of the spatial data systems for mapping and emergency response systems. As deputy director of the development and engineering services division, Loesch developed the small cell program delivery team to improve residents access to modern cellular infrastructure and support digital equity goals.

Most recently, as acting director of public works, he has overseen the wage theft prevention program and the Animal Care and Services Center whose recent collaboration with partners and media promotion has seen an increase in adoptions (180) – the most in recent history.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have Matt Loesch – who brings over two decades of experience with the City – step in as the new Director of Public Works,” said San José Mayor Matt Mahan. “Loesch’s leadership will help us strategically upgrade city infrastructure and leverage new technologies to improve quality of life for our residents.”

With an annual operating budget of $201 million and 647 employees, the PW Director leads the maintenance and construction of municipal systems and helps regulate building in the public rights of way. The public works department is responsible for core services are diverse and complex, including animal care and services; facilities management; fleet and equipment services; planning, designing, and constructing public facilities and infrastructure; and regulating and facilitating private development.

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