After nearly 50 years of combined, dedicated service to the City of Brentwood, Engineering and Service Center Director Mike Harris and Capital Projects Coordinator Jeff Donegan, have retired. Harris retired at the end of April after 15 years of service. Donegan, hired in 1988, has worked a variety of positions in Water Services, Engineering, and leadership roles in the Public Works Department. Donegan’s final day with the city was April 26.
“Mike and Jeff will be deeply missed by their colleagues and the residents of Brentwood, said City Manager Kirk Bednar. “Both have spent their careers here working to solve problems for our residents and facilitating projects that have improved the quality of life in our community,” Bednar added. After working more than two decades in engineering management positions in the private sector, Harris served as the Engineering Director for the City of Jackson before starting with the City of Brentwood in 2006. Upon joining the City, he became the City’s first engineering director and created the department. During his career here, he focused on new development, both commercial and residential, he was a crucial leader in the renovations of City Hall, the expansion of the Service Center, the first phase of Smith Park, HVAC upgrades at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library and he oversaw the management of the City’s capital construction projects. He was promoted to oversee the entire Service Center in 2013.
“Mike has been willing to take on a variety of roles and special projects over the years and became one of our key leaders, Bednar said. “I could always count on Mike to handle a problem in a way that achieved our goals but also treated everyone involved fairly. I will greatly miss his counsel and friendship and wish him the best in retirement,” Bednar added. “As I reflect back over the past almost 15 years, I am thankful for the opportunity to have come to work for the City of Brentwood and build the Engineering Department, “said Harris. “I am proud of our work and the progress into putting new rules and provisions in place to help the residents of Brentwood,” he added.
In retirement, Harris plans to continue some part-time work with the City of Brentwood and is excited about riding his motorcycle and spending more time with his grandchildren.
Donegan worked a variety of positions in his 33 years with the City of Brentwood. Hired as a Water and Sewer Equipment Operator, he quickly advanced through the ranks to Public Works Director in 2007. Most recently he has managed capital projects including numerous road widening and trail projects. Bednar said, “Jeff’s strengths were the relationships he built over the years with so many residents. He and his knowledge of the city will be greatly missed.” Donegan is excited to travel across the country on his Harley Davidson during retirement.
City Engineer Lori Lange has been promoted to lead the City’s Engineering Department upon the departure of Harris. She was hired by the City of Brentwood in 2019 and since that time has been involved in overseeing the planning, design, and construction of private development projects across the City. Lange is a licensed Professional Engineer who previously worked as the Construction Director with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Prior to her service with the state, Lange worked in the private sector as a Transportation Principle with Gresham, Smith. In that role, Lange worked with City staff on the design of Smith Park and the widening of Concord Road. In 2018, the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers presented Lange with the Government Engineer of the Year award. Bednar said, “I knew Lori for many years before she came to work for us in 2019. She is an incredibly talented engineer who understands both the fine details of engineering design as well as the big picture of what we do as a city organization. With Lori being focused solely on management of our Engineering functions, it provides the opportunity to reorganize some of our roles to improve both our service delivery and project management.”
City Engineer Darek Baskin, who was hired in 2017, will shift duties and oversee the City’s Capital Projects. In this role, Baskin will be responsible for managing and delivering the capital improvement program for city infrastructure projects. Capital projects includes a broad range of specialties overseeing survey, design, geotechnical reports, right-of-way acquisition, utility coordination, environmental, permitting, community outreach, agency coordination, construction oversight and consultant management. Lange said that, “Darek has been a tremendous asset to the City of Brentwood. Darek is perfect for this new role as his combined private industry and municipal experience in Capital Projects is a huge strength in filling this very important position. I am confident Darek will thrive in this new role and continue to provide valued public service to the city. Darek will also assist in ensuring a seamless transition in the reorganization of Engineering functions. “ Baskin is also a licensed professional engineer who previously worked for Powers Hill Design, a private consultant in Memphis and was assigned to work with the City of Memphis and specifically the Civil Engineering and Land Development Office reviewing plans and coordinating with clients and consultants on projects. Previously Baskin was the City Engineer and Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Millington, TN.
Grant Heintzman and Zane Pannell are being hired to join the City’s engineering team filling the City Engineer positions in the Department. They will be responsible for ensuring residential and commercial developments comply with City code regarding areas such as site grading, floodplain management, roadway design, site drainage, roadway signage and lighting, and construction. Both Heintzman and Pannell previously worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and are licensed professional engineers. Heintzman has extensive construction experience and previously worked for the TDOT Construction Division. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Pannell most recently worked as the Traffic Engineer for TDOT’s Middle Tennessee region and has extensive planning, permitting and project safety experience. He has a master’s degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Lange said, “Grant and Zane’s wealth of experience will be especially helpful as we manage the Engineering Department’s organizational changes. We look forward to them both joining the City of Brentwood.”
Richard Schroder will continue to serve as the department’s lead engineering technician ensuring roadway construction, public infrastructure and development projects are performed in accordance with City of Brentwood requirements. Richard’s role in the field provides a direct resource to contractors, developers, and engineers in ensuring standards are being met and understood. Richard has worked with Brentwood since 2018 on multiple capital projects and developments. He also leads stormwater compliance efforts for the City. Prior to joining Brentwood, he held similar roles in several companies and served on the International Mission Board as a community impactor in Guinea, West Africa.