The OTHER Mill Valley rock stars you should know….
By Denise Andrews, Operations Superintendent, Mill Valley Public Works
In an era when most folks get their goods and services delivered via the internet, underground pipes seem, well, downright Dark Ages. Sewer pipe maintenance is just one of the functions we manage in Public Works’ Operations. DPW’s Operation Team is also responsible for maintaining the City’s 50,000+ trees, multiple parks, medians, sport fields, roadways, sidewalks, traffic signs, road striping, golf course, benches, playgrounds, and solar panels. We also maintain five buildings including Library, Police, Fire station, Golf Course Clubhouse, City Hall, and the entire City fleet - from the largest Fire truck to the smallest generator.
As Mill Valley’s Operations Superintendent for Public Works, I have the honor of working with an amazing team of 24 men and women, including four rock star division supervisors. No, they didn’t play at the Sweetwater in the 70’s, but they do keep this town runnin’ and hummin’. I’d like to introduce them to you, beginning with our most senior supervisor:
Keith Mills, Shop and Equipment Supervisor, manages the maintenance of the City’s equipment and fleet. He’s worked for the City of Mill Valley for 23 years, with 11 years in his current position. I asked him about his long road to our “Shop”:
“I worked on cars and equipment since I was 15 years old. I took auto and machine shop classes at Tam High School, then went to College of Marin for five years where I took classes in machining, welding, physics, and electronics, eventually receiving my certificate in Machine and Metals Technology.” Keith said the most challenging tasks he performs are custom installations and retrofits of new equipment into all of the emergency vehicles. We refer to Keith as “Mr. MacGyver” for his remarkable problem solving and fabrication skills.
Tony Boyd, Parks Supervisor, manages all parks, the golf course, all those trees I mentioned earlier, playgrounds, sport fields, medians, and special landscaping. Tony is also the City’s Arborist. He’s relatively new here, with three years as Supervisor. Tony’s path started in South Africa where he received adegree in Business Administration and worked in advertising and public relations before coming to California, finding a seasonal job with Marin County Parks.
Tony said, “I decided to change my career path. I worked for a landscape contractor and then for Marin Municipal Water District while taking night and weekend classes in horticulture. I became a ‘Bay Friendly’ Certified Landscape Professional and an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist.” Tony is currently working with a community group to install 3,000 square feet of native plants in Bayfront Meadow.
Ernie Sandoval, Building Maintenance Supervisor, manages maintenance and upgrades of five City buildings plus several outdoor structures, such as the Downtown Clock and the restrooms in our parks. Ernie worked in partnership with a generous donation from our Chamber of Commerce to repair the four-sided historic clock. Ernie said of the years when it didn’t work, locals would look up at it and say “Wait, what time is it? That can’t be right.” Now they know how late they are for work, from any direction.
Ernie has been with the City for a total of 18 years with two years in his current position as Supervisor. His extensive experience includes years as a Groundsworker and completion of the Southern Marin Management Academy. Ernie’s team has “Mad Skills” as we say here in the Mill Valley Corporation Yard.
Jesus ‘Chuy’ Beltran, Streets and Sewers Supervisor, has responsibility for sewer line maintenance and repair, and all aspects of street maintenance. Chuy is our newest Supervisor, but before his promotion he worked for the City for 16 years. He started as a Groundsworker in the Parks division, moved to our Streets and Sewers division in 2015, and became Supervisor over a year ago.
Chuy says he enjoys motivating his crew to learn new skills and watching as they become more confident in their positions. His team has already broken records for the amount of sewer pipes cleaned and sediment removed from drainage channels. I am most intrigued by Chuy’s ability to read minds – I often go to ask him to do something and he says, ‘already did it’.