Two new department heads serving New Haven

Heading up New Haven’s Planning Department is Rob Gutierrez, standing, and the new city engineer is Darrin Good.

Rob Gutierrez and Darrin Good recently became part of the City of New Haven’s senior staff. Guiterrez is director of planning and Good took over the position of director of engineering.

Gutierrez, who joined the staff in early January, came to New Haven from Elkhart where he worked as a city planner. When he learned of the opening here he immediately set up an interview with Mayor Steve McMichael and was offered the job. “I’ve always liked the New Haven/Fort Wayne area,” he said, “and was particularly impressed with the mayor’s aspirational vision of what needs to be accomplished, his excitement and the momentum of someone who really cares. It didn’t hurt, too, that my girlfriend lives here.”

“Unlike big cities where it’s more difficult to effect change,” Gutierrez said, “we have the opportunity here to get things done in a shorter time. And I can actually talk to the mayor every day. As a one-man show, I’ll be making sure everything we do is compliant with all the laws, updating ordinances and working closely with the new director of community and economic development.”

While employed at Elkhart he developed a reputation for delivering strong customer service in assisting residents and businesses to navigate the planning process. “I really am excited about being able to help make New Haven an even better place for residents, businesses and industries,” he said. “I hope people will come to the Planning Commission meetings the second Tuesday of each month and feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.”

Gutierrez, who characterizes himself as a California refugee, grew up in the San Francisco area. He did his undergraduate work in natural resources, watershed and environmental sciences at Utah State University and expects to complete his master’s degree in infrastructure planning and management from the University of Washington in September. He holds a certificate in California Environmental Quality Act Practice (CEQAP) from the University of California San Diego.

The new city engineer said he’s still in the process of getting a handle on what is needed to upgrade the sewer system, and make sure sidewalks and street intersections meet the federal guidelines with ADA ramps as part of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossing Project.

“Fortunately,” Good said, “I’m able to draw on the experience of Keith Schlegel who is our 3R (Rehab, Repair, Replace) program coordinator for the sewer system laterals. We’ll be doing a lot of sewer upgrading, especially in the older neighborhoods. I’ll also lean heavily on Tye Campbell, assistant director of engineering, and engineering technician Alex Bourke El.

“I’m really excited about this appointment and being able to put the experience gained in a number of governmental positions over the years to make minor modifications to a department that is already working well. I’m charged with planning, organizing and coordinating the city’s municipal engineering programs involving civil engineering projects, developments, construction, inspection and surveying. It’s a pleasure working with Mayor McMichael and feeding off his energy,” Good said.

The Columbia City native earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Technology from Indiana University Purdue University-Fort Wayne and is an Indiana licensed professional engineer. He has extensive experience with civil engineering consulting firms in northeast Indiana and was an engineer for the Allen County Surveyor’s Office. In 2004 he started his own engineering consulting firm, DG Engineering in Fort Wayne.

“After 30 years of experience in engineering, coming to work with the City of New Haven is a welcome change,” he said. ”The atmosphere has been warm and inviting. I’m looking forward to working with this team that the mayor has assembled for many years to come.”

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