Note: This article is part of the Fall 2018 Springdale Newsletter. To check out the full newsletter, please click here.
Brad Baldwin takes over as new director of Public Works
Springdale is the fourth-largest city in the state by population, and it is also one of the largest by land area at about 42 square miles. With more than 900 lane miles to maintain, the City needs an expert at the helm. The Public Works Department oversees Springdale's roads, and as of July, that department has a new director — an expert named Brad Baldwin.
Brad Baldwin has been working as the Director of Engineering for the City of Springdale for the past four years. As of this summer, he is now also the Director of Public Works. He succeeds Sam Goade who retired after almost 17 years with the City.
A veteran of the United States Air Force, Baldwin is a strong leader who has a passion for public service. He has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Oklahoma and has built a career in the public and private sector.
He previously worked for the City of Fort Smith for just shy of a year as the Chief Engineer and Public Works Director.
He was hired away from the City and went to private industry to work as the Director of Engineering and Environmental Services for Farrell-Cooper Mining Company. He spent 20 years there helping navigate federal and state mining laws and environmental requirements.
When he retired, he returned to public service by taking a job with the City of Van Buren as a Chief Engineer, eventually being promoted to Public Works Director, while still working as the Chief Engineer.
"I love building stuff," said Baldwin. "To me, engineering and public works in a municipal setting should be working hand in hand."
Baldwin also ran the Planning and IT departments during his tenure in Van Buren. In 2014, he retired from the City and came to the City of Springdale.
"All of my kids had moved from the River Valley and lived in Northwest Arkansas," he said. He and his wife were eager to move here to be closer to them. "Springdale is a marvelous city. I had always wanted to live here."
He was hired as the Director of Engineering for Springdale in 2014. When Goade retired, Baldwin jumped at the chance to put his experience and knowledge of public works to use for the City.
"I like public works," said Baldwin. "I believe that engineering and public works integrate well."
Now that he is pulling double duty heading up two departments, he has his hands full overseeing almost 60 employees while leading the 2018 Bond Program street improvement projects.
The work Goade did heading the Public Works Department has earned Springdale a reputation for quality road conditions and storm preparation.
It's never easy when a long-time department head retires, but Baldwin's experience as a Public Works director has made this transition smooth for the City.
Baldwin's philosophy is simple — do what's best for our residents.
"I believe in putting the taxpayer first," he said. "What we're trying to do is get the most bang for our buck in the engineering department, and part of that is helping to integrate more engineering projects into Public Works' day-to-day operations."
In order to do that, he is working to increase the utilization of in-house engineers to provide better support for public works projects.
He plans to do more construction projects in house, as well, and contract out the jobs that can't be done with City staff.
"In the forefront of my mind is the taxpayers and how we can get the highest-quality product for the least amount of dollars because that benefits the taxpayers."