City of Cassville hires new public works director
Director: 'Cassville's got a good story to tell'
The city of Cassville has hired David Brock as its new public works director.
Brock, who assumed his duties on Sept. 1, replaces Robert Forrest, who held the position from December 2016 until July.
Brock brings over 15 years experience in public works to the city, serving as public works director for the city of Republic prior to accepting his position, and director of the same for the city of Ozark for four years.
Brock also has extensive experience in working with municipalities, serving the city of Aurora, where he currently resides, as an engineering technician and planning official.
"[The engineering position] was my first job out of school," said Brock, who joined the U.S. Air Force after high school, working on the flight line. "That developed an interest in aircraft, and I had some education money when I got out and started studying aerospace engineering."
Brock later obtained a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. But life took him in other directions.
"I met my wife and got reestablished in southwest Missouri, and there's not a lot of aerospace engineering jobs in Missouri, so so I got into civil engineering and municipalities," Brock said.
He and his wife have two boys, a freshman at Missouri State University, and a sophomore at Aurora High School.
One strength he feels will be an asset as public works director is his enjoyment of solving problems.
"Often there are issues that come up and public works is about fixing problems and taking care of infrastructure," he said.
Each municipality he has worked for is unique, Brock said, yet all share common issues.
"There are a lot of commonalities in waster water and storm water," he said.
Brock said he is ready to deal with the unique issues the city of Cassville faces, including its flooding and infrastructure challenges, and the city's ongoing attempts to solve them.
"Every city is unique," he said. "Cities don't grow up overnight, and sometimes people become kind of a victim of decisions that were made 100 years ago. With the flooding issues here, I've not seen anything similar. Cassville's topography is unique. Ozark had recurrent flooding of the Finley River, but I didn't see the occupied buildings impacted like in Cassville. But that's one of the challenges that was laid out in my job interview, and where we've got to have an impact. We're trying to change how things are done and how the creek beds have been maintained or not been maintained.
"So there are some things different here, and I like that. Cassville's got a lot of history and that appeals to me, too. And that's one of the things we're going to try to promote is to tell a story — and Cassville's got a good story to tell, with its industry, recreation and appeal.
As public works director, Brock will also oversee the parks department and airport.
"Being in charge of the parks department is new for me," he said. "And the airport is another interest."
But along with the typical daily duties and everyday details, Brock shared enthusiasm for the big picture as well.
"This level of management is not just turning wrenches and fixing water leaks, you get involved with the long-term plans," he said. "I think there's a lot of potential for Cassville. There had been some strategic planning sessions this summer, and it's exciting to have an organization that likes to think at that level. So it was nice with my starting date to get involved in some of that."
Brock praised Steve Walensky, former public works director and current city administrator, for his development of and goals for the city.
"I think he's got things going on [here] that's not typical for a town of its size," he said. "I think because he wasn't involved in local government he brought in a set of fresh eyes. He's very genuine and I'm going to enjoy working for him."
"David has several years of experience as a public works director both from Republic and Ozark," said Walensky. "His vast project capability fits perfect for our future projects here in Cassville. He has outstanding leadership skills as well, making him an outstanding fit for Cassville. I am thrilled to have him on our team.
Having lived in Aurora for many years, Brock often visited Roaring River State Park, so he is somewhat familiar, but still getting his bearings.
"I'm still trying to get acquainted with the city," he said. "I didn't know much about the town other than what I saw on the main roads. So part of my day, I try to get out and visit neighborhoods I haven't been to before. [In this position], you've got to know every street and intersection because that's generally what people call about and it doesn't always match what's on a map."