After the retirement of Tom Ames, who spent 37 years with the town of Wrightsville Beach as a public works employee, the town has promoted Steve Dellies to the position of assistant public works director.
Dellies said it would be difficult to fill the gap Ames left when he retired but that the restructuring of the assistant director position was helping make the transition easier for the whole department. As the offseason comes, Dellies said the department’s maintenance operations activity would be increasing.
“We just can’t do as much maintenance in the summer because of the high demand on the system, all the tourists that are here and the high occupancy, so we are coming into the preventative maintenance season on the stuff that we had to let go over the summer,” he said. “It’s not a really big system by utility standards but it is big enough, and it has been pieced together over the years so it is just a matter of keeping up.”
Whereas Ames retired as the assistant to the public works director, Dellies’ new position of assistant public works director was created to streamline and marry the public works and utilities departments since Dellies was formerly the utilities system superintendent.
“I wanted to make it a more cohesive position with authority over the utility group,” said public works director Mike Vukelich. “The long-range technical aspect of utilities falls on Steve, the day-to-day operation of the utilities goes to the utilities superintendent.”
Dellies has served the town as its stormwater manager and was project manager during the construction of the public safety facility. Having first been introduced to the public works department as an intern for a public administration masters program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2005, Dellies said his administrative background and qualifications would help the new utilities superintendent have more time to be in the field.
“One of the primary reasons why they established this position was to get that superintendent out in the field more,” Dellies said. “Typically there is a lot of paperwork with the state, and the more time you spend in the office the less time you spend with the system and getting to know all the day-to-day issues.”
Vukelich said the department promoted Eugene Savarino, a former utilities system operator with the town, to the role of utilities system superintendent.