Waterworks Director

City of Newport News, VA | Full-time


The Position

The City of Newport News, Virginia, is searching for a leader as Waterworks Director to oversee all water utility functions, develop staff within the department, and serve as a member of the City’s executive leadership team. The Director will lead a team of highly competent staff who are committed to providing the City and the region with exceptional water and ensuring the continued environmental and operational integrity, regulatory compliance, safety, and security of the water system.

The Director develops, implements, and manages the department’s complex operating and capital budget and makes recommendations to City Management regarding the water utility, its rates, and future needs. The Waterworks Director is also responsible for the supervision of all Newport News Waterworks staff and the administration of human resources policies and procedures within the department. The Waterworks Director sets the strategic direction for the department, aligning work plans and complex projects to best achieve Council goals and priorities. In addition to internal leadership, the position has a critical external role engaging the community and establishing positive working relationships with regional stakeholders, the local media, and intergovernmental partners.

The Waterworks Director reports directly to the Assistant City Manager and currently has nine (9) direct reports:

  • Assistant Director of Waterworks
  • Distribution Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Enterprise Manager
  • IT Manager
  • General Services Manager
  • Natural Resources Manager
  • Administrator of Strategic Management Services
  • Sr. Administrative Coordinator

The Organization

The City of Newport News is administered by a council-manager form of government, wherein a City Manager is appointed by the Mayor and City Council to oversee the day-to-day administrative operations of city government. All seven members of Council are elected to serve four-year terms in nonpartisan elections. Two Council members are elected from each of the City’s three districts, and the Mayor is elected at large. The City Attorney and City Clerk are also appointed by Council, and all department heads are appointed by the City Manager.

The City’s FY 2021 total budget is approximately $930.5 million, including a General Fund Budget of $515 million. With the inclusion of 3,861 FTEs working for the Newport News Public Schools District, the City’s total workforce is 7,305.

Newport News is a full-service city and utilizes a Shared Leadership approach. Shared Leadership Networks were created to enhance this approach. The five networks are Quality of Life, Public Safety, Infrastructure, Community Development, and Quality Government, with City Management at the center of all networks. The Waterworks Department falls under the Infrastructure Network, alongside Engineering, Public Works, Information Technology, and Vehicle Services.

Newport News Waterworks

Newport News Waterworks is the regional water provider owned and operated by the City. The organization provides water service to more than 400,000 people in Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, York County, and portions of James City County. Newport News Waterworks manages the regional public water supply system, which includes river, fresh groundwater, brackish groundwater, and reservoir sources.

The main source of water is the Chickahominy River, and the system owns and operates five reservoirs and two dams. This enterprise fund has maintained a AAA credit rating from two credit rating agencies, minimizing the cost of debt. Sound financial practices, strong environmental and regulatory compliance history, and exceptional customer service are hallmarks of this agency. Waterworks is committed to best practices for the environment, partnering with the Water Research Foundation. The system launched a mobile app in 2017 and is committed to providing the highest service to its customers. Like many utilities, a large percentage of staff will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.

Waterworks – by the numbers:

  • 2 dams
  • 5 reservoirs
  • 2 water treatment plants
  • 1,100 fire hydrants in five localities on the Peninsula
  • 6 elevated storage tanks and 5 underground storage tanks are maintained
  • 1750 miles of water pipeline
  • 32,500 valves
  • 136,000+ meters
  • 12,000 watershed acres owned and managed

Newport News Waterworks’ FY 2020-2021 total adopted budget is $96.3 million.

Experience and Education

Minimum requirements are any combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in business, public administration, engineering, or a related field and 10 years of progressively responsible experience in water utility management. A minimum of five years of supervisory experience is also required.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree, PE, and experience in a complex water utility. Demonstrated experience of leadership, employee engagement, oversight of multiple complex capital projects, successful adaptation to new technology, and helping achieve organizational and community goals are preferred and should be addressed in the cover letter or resume.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal Waterworks Director is a demonstrated leader who instills trust in staff and facilitates a team-oriented culture that is reflected both internally and externally. The successful candidate is personable, confident, and listens to input without bias. This person is skilled in strategic planning and has a clear vision that will allow for the continued success of Newport News Waterworks.

The next Waterworks Director actively engages staff and serves as a key member of the City’s executive leadership team. A seasoned leader, this individual has exceptional interpersonal and mentorship skills. This person communicates priorities and expectations, empowers staff to reach their full potential, and holds themselves and department personnel accountable. This candidate is an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and solicits input from a variety of sources.

The ideal candidate is well-positioned to lead Newport News Waterworks through its transition to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. This person is accustomed to working with elected officials and engages staff to achieve established goals and priorities. The Director will have demonstrated the ability to provide exceptional customer service to the City’s residents, water customers, and regional and regulatory partners. The next Waterworks Director possesses a comprehensive knowledge of water utility organization, operations, and engineering. This individual is knowledgeable of regulations, requirements, trends, and best practices related to the use of technology in water treatment and distribution.

The Community

Located along the banks of the Hampton Roads harbor in southeastern Virginia, Newport News is a major East Coast port and one of the Commonwealth’s largest cities. With a rich heritage dating back to the founding of the United States, Newport News offers safe and family-friendly neighborhoods, high-quality public schools, and access to a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities. Newport News is located near Hampton, minutes from Williamsburg, and a short drive away from Virginia Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

Newport News is home to nearly three dozen properties and districts in the National Register of Historic Places and a wide array of museums celebrating the region’s history. The City is conveniently located between historic Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, the Commonwealth’s largest city. Despite its enviable location between several popular tourist destinations, Newport News provides a small-town, suburban atmosphere.

Newport News boasts an award-winning public school system, which is composed of over 40 schools. The City is home to Christopher Newport University, a public liberal arts university with an enrollment of approximately 5,000. Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University are located in neighboring Norfolk, and the College of William and Mary is situated just over 20 miles to the northeast in Williamsburg.

The City’s major industries are shipbuilding, defense, and aerospace. Huntington Ingalls Industries is the region’s largest employer, with a workforce of nearly 24,500 at its Newport News Shipbuilding division. The Hampton Roads region is serviced by three airports: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Norfolk International Airport, and Richmond International Airport. Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service, and Hampton Roads Transit provides regional service. A new Amtrak station, to be completed in 2022 on the Northeast Regional line, will include a multimodal transportation hub to connect rail, airport, taxis, and shuttles.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 179,225
  • Median Household Income: $51,884
  • Median Home Value: $193,100
  • Median Age: 33.2

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.


The salary range is open with an anticipated hiring range of $130,000 - $160,000, depending on qualifications. Benefits offered include the following:

  • Health, dental, vision, life, and short- and long-term disability insurance
  • Retirement benefits through the Virginia Retirement System (VRS)
  • Deferred compensation
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Discounted fitness center memberships

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on October 9, 2020.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at apply@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 513-221-0500.

Download Recruitment Brochure