City engineer to leave position at the end of month

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 17, 2003

When opportunity came knocking on City Engineer Joe McCallister's door it was actually a bittersweet for the Ironton employee.

After nearly five and a half years working for the city, McCallister will leave at the end of January to take a position with the Army Corp of Engineers' Huntington Division. But this was not a decision that he took lightly.

"I am really excited about the new challenge and look forward it," he said. "It was a very tough decision for me to make because I really enjoy my work with the city."

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Above all, McCallister said he will miss his fellow employees in the engineering office.

"The Mayor is a great supervisor and person, and that affected my decision the most," he said. "I went down there three days in a row to tell him, but I chickened out the first two times."

Beginning in February, McCallister will work as a hydraulic engineer in the water control section of the water resources branch of the Lakes and Rivers Division of the Corps Huntington district.

While not sure of his exact duties, McCallister said he will use routing software to determine allowable releases for flood control and recreation. He will also analyze dam discharges and flood routes.

Mayor Bob Cleary said he was a bit surprised and is definitely sorry to lose such an important part of the city.

"Joe has been a good employee and we truly hate to see him go," Cleary said. "Certainly we realize that going to the Corp is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wish him the best."

However, McCallister will still be a part of the city's development in the immediate future as he will stay on as a part-time consultant and help oversee several projects he saw begin.

"We have done a lot of projects over the last 5 years that he has saved the city a lot of money on by not having to hire outside contractors," Cleary said. "I think it will be a little difficult to find someone to replace him."

Cleary said the city will begin advertising immediately and will hire someone as quickly as possible.

Overall, he does not think any of the five major projects that will begin in 2003 will be delayed.

Upcoming projects include the floodwall enhancement, developing a road through the former Honeywell site, building a new water tower, construction of the new fire station and downtown street and sidewalk repairs.

"The transition period will be difficult, but we will manage," Cleary said. "With a new person in place we will keep moving forward."