Essex residents, family, friends, and colleagues of retired Public Works Director Dennis Lutz gathered on August 3rd to honor his impressive career with a dedication ceremony. The Dennis E. Lutz Public Works Facility sign now stands at the entrance to the Essex public works grounds.
Town Manager for Essex, Greg Duggan welcomed Dennis and guests and presented Dennis with a resolution approved by the Town of Essex Selectboard on August 1st on behalf of the staff and citizens of the Town of Essex, in appreciation for 38 years of dedicated service.
Among his lengthy list of accomplishments and accolades, Dennis served in the military for 37 years, beginning on active duty as an Engineer Company Commander in Vietnam and later as a construction site engineer in Oregon for the Corps of Engineers. Following active duty, Dennis became a member of the Vermont National Guard, ultimately spending the last five years of his military career as the Assistant Adjutant General for the Vermont National Guard. For most of his working career, Dennis balanced the leadership responsibilities of an active part-time military career with his full-time position with Essex.
Dennis was hired as Public Works Director in September 1984 and started with six employees and five trucks. Today, the department’s resources are doubled and services expanded. Dennis created the Town’s first Public Works Specifications, Comprehensive Road Management Plan, and Winter Operations Plan. These road management and operation plans continue to be updated and used by the department. Other significant achievements include receiving 100 percent grant funding for bridge replacement and the completion of Essex’s portion of the Circumferential Highway.
Dennis has been integral to improving water quality in Essex and the surrounding area by adhering to the Town’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase 2 Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit, creating a chloride monitoring program, reducing salt application, recommending the creation of and then serving on the Joint Stormwater Coordinating Committee between the Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction. The committee collaborates on stormwater management, operations, and funding of stormwater activity in both jurisdictions in order to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of delivered services in both communities.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering, Dennis’s background includes seven years with the State of Vermont as an Environmental Engineering Supervisor, as well as private sector work. He serves as an elected Commissioner to the Champlain Water District from South Burlington and is one of six Vermonters appointed by the Governor as a New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commissioner. In 2018, Dennis received the Outstanding Achievement in Public Works Award by the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association (NEAPWA). Recipients of this award are recognized for implementing projects which improve productivity, cut costs, or offer a new approach to providing services from which others in the industry could benefit from.
Public Works Director Aaron Martin joined Town Manager Duggan in congratulating Dennis on his career and accomplishments and assisted in unveiling the new sign at the public works entrance. “Dennis has helped make Essex the great community we now live and work in and I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor his accomplishments and dedication to the Town of Essex than naming the Town highway garage complex after him,” said Martin.
“When you do work you love, it’s not really work…I think that’s an important part in finding success in life, is to just do what you love and continue to do that,” said, Lutz.
Watch and share the special program recording from Town Meeting TV.