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The City Journals

New director takes helm of West Valley City Public Works Department

Aug 16, 2021 10:50AM ● By Darrell Kirby

Dan Johnson, right, chats with Mayor Ron Bigelow shortly after the city council approved his appointment as West Valley City’s new public works director. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

For the first time in 33 years, the West Valley City Public Works Department has a new director. 

Dan Johnson was approved by the city council in July to replace longtime director Russell Willardson, who retired after serving in the role since 1988. 

Johnson is no stranger to the department, having been a city engineer for 22 years and assistant director for the past six months to help make for a smooth transition from Willardson’s tenure. 

“I look forward to addressing the various challenges as they arrive throughout the coming days,” Johnson said after being sworn in to the position. 

“We’ve done a lot of good things over the years, but we intend to continue to improve the way that we do business and the way that we maintain our infrastructure,” Johnson later told the West Valley City Journal. “I just look forward to finding ways to be more efficient and do better.” 

Before his appointment to lead the department, Johnson was the city engineer since 2007. His previous positions with public works were doing construction inspections on various projects, designing roadways and reviewing plans. He earned an engineering degree from the University of Utah. 

Public Works in West Valley City has four divisions: engineering, sanitation, stormwater and streets. 

“I love public works and love building and fixing things, so it’s a perfect role for me,” Johnson said.