Dan Brisson, 56, is the Department of Public Works director for the city of Fenton. He served as the interim director since July 2019. He has numerous professional credentials and has received two major awards from the American Public Works Association (APWA) for a project in the Environmental and Road Rehabilitation categories.
Tell us about your family:
I have been married to Angela for 31 years. We have two adult children, Matt and daughter Jordan, who reside in the Atlanta, Georgia area with their children. As empty nesters, we have a 3-year-old golden retriever named Jackson who walks me daily, and a cat named Ado (short for adopted).
When did you start working for city of Fenton?
I met Les Bland, then Public Works director for the city of Fenton, around 2008 through the APWA and an APWA program Les was a founding committee member of called the Michigan Public Service Institute (MPSI). As a student of the three-year MPSI program, I got to know Les very well and met Dan Czarnecki shortly after Dan became the new Public Works director for Fenton. In the spring of 2018, I learned from Dan about the Public Works deputy director opportunity in Fenton. It was a difficult decision to leave Auburn Hills but the position in Fenton was an exciting opportunity. I started as deputy director of Public Works in July 2018. I served as interim director from July 2019 until this past December when I was officially appointed as the Public Works director.
Where did you work previously?
I have worked as the office manager/assistant parking operations manager for a company that held the Pontiac Silverdome parking and outside grounds maintenance contract. When the Palace of Auburn Hills opened in 1988, I followed the Pistons to their new home and was hired as the director of parking, overseeing event traffic and parking operations for both the Palace and Pine Knob Music Theatre. I learned of an opening at the city of Auburn Hills Department of Public Works. I was hired in 2005 and started as the Water Meter Technician. I was promoted to Facilities Supervisor in 2006 overseeing custodial operations and the maintenance and repair of the city’s 20-plus buildings. In 2014, I was promoted to oversee fleet and roads operations.
What challenges do you think you will have as Public Works director?
The new role has many challenges as I work with our engineering team to become more involved with the compliance end of the business, which includes storm water permits, water treatment plant compliance, EGLE (Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) requirements, etc. Road maintenance and capital road funding, especially for local streets, is a challenge. Fenton is not alone trying to find financial solutions to address infrastructure.
Do you have plans to make improvements to the department?
Any service operation continuously evolves to meet the changing demands of the customer. An example is the current Stormwater, Asset Management, Wastewater (SAW) grant program that is underway, which is inspecting and cleaning select areas of the city’s storm and sewer systems. Another example is Public Works staff continues to look at how we go about plowing and salting city streets in the winter months. Collaborating with other communities and attending workshops on winter operations helps our Public Works team maintain safe roads, sidewalks and parking lots in the winter months in the best manner possible.
Do you like to travel? How do you spend your free time?
We are blessed with a family cottage on Lake Huron in St. Joseph, Ontario. My carpentry skills come in handy to maintain the cottage my grandfather built in the ’40s. Several relatives have cottages or year around homes in St. Joseph, so Angela and I spend our leisure time visiting my large Canadian family. Other than a one-time trip to Cancun, our travels are been limited to Atlanta to visit “our southern family” and weekends at the family cottage. I am an avid snowmobiler, so I visit the Upper Peninsula in the winter months.
What has been the most rewarding thing about working in Fenton?
I have felt warmly welcomed by city staff, council and the residents I have met along the way since joining “Team Fenton.” Fenton is a great community to live and work. The downtown area and many places to dine and shop are excellent. We have a great group of men and women in our Public Works operation that truly makes working in municipal service operations a pleasure. I am very proud to be a part of the city staff that serves the community.