The village of Brookfield filled two key administrative positions last week, hiring a new director of public works and a new village planner. Both started work on June 29, according to Village Manager Keith Sbiral.
Ken Blaauw, a civil engineer with experience in both the public and private sectors, is taking the reins in public works. He replaces Dan Kaup, who left Brookfield in April after almost three years on the job.
“This will be the first time we will have someone who can look at all aspects of the job,” said Sbiral, who said Blaauw brings “street knowledge” of how private contractors approach municipal jobs.
“He’ll have a critical eye on contracts,” Sbiral said. “He’s served as a guy on the street, knowing what we’re paying for.”
Blaauw served as village engineer for the Village of Plainfield for about a decade, said Sbiral, before spending the past five years in the private sector, most recently with the Addison-based contracting firm R.W. Dunteman.
In Plainfield, according to Sbiral, Blaauw played an important role in the development of that village’s Riverfront Master Plan, which was completed in 2007.
Also starting work on June 29 was the Brookfield’s new planner, Emily Egan, a December 2014 graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, where she earned a master’s degree in urban planning and policy. Egan has a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
Her master’s degree program included a concentration in economic development, and she spent about six months in 2014 as a research assistant for the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago.
A native of Michigan, Egan was the clear choice of the three finalists interviewed for the position, Sbiral said.
“She had absolutely the best first and second interviews as far as providing a professional approach,” Sbiral said. “Her personality is exactly what we were looking for in the position.”
Egan said she was intrigued by the Brookfield position’s combination of economic and community development aspects. Egan also said she agreed with the emphasis of the community development department on customer service.
“I want to be available for residents,” Egan said.
Sbiral said he was looking for a candidate with a broader base of experience, a person who fit the role of traditional planner — undertaking plan reviews, presenting before the Planning and Zoning Commission, etc. — but who was also comfortable with community development and outreach.
“We’re just doing more now,” Sbiral said. “I wanted someone who was able to assist in economic development efforts and community development efforts. We have a broader approach to how we’re looking at those things.”
With the two hires, said Sbiral, the village’s administrative team is fully staffed.