DUBUQUE, Iowa – Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen has appointed Christopher Lester as Dubuque’s next water department manager, effective June 1, 2021.
"Providing safe drinking water to the residents of Dubuque and meeting the water needs of Dubuque businesses is critical," said Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen. "Chris's years of experience, certifications, and commitment make him the right individual to lead the water department staff and to manage this vital utility."
As water department manager, Lester will manage the operation and maintenance of the City’s water treatment facility, water distribution system, and its associated pump stations, water reservoirs, and wells and will ensure compliance with applicable state and federal regulations, including Federal Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.
Lester is a water and wastewater professional with over 22 years of work experience in the water and wastewater industries and is certified by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Grade 3 Water Treatment, Grade 3 Water Distribution, Grade 4 Wastewater Treatment and is exam eligible for certification in Grade 4 Water Treatment and Water Distribution.
He has served as the City of Dubuque’s community development specialist in the Housing and Community Development Department since July 2019, managing the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, maintaining compliance with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations, and managing grant and loan compliance agreement. Prior to that position, Lester worked as a plant operator at the City of Dubuque Water and Resource Recovery Center from 2008 to 2019 where his responsibilities included monitoring plant performance, assisting with implementation and enforcement of the Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) program, supervising plant operations in the absence of the plan manager. Since 2010, he has also worked as the operator in charge/system manager for the Burds Green Acres Subdivision Water Treatment Facility in Peosta.
Lester holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Dubuque. He is currently pursuing a master of business administration from the University of Dubuque.
Lester will work with Denise Blakely Ihrig, the outgoing water department manager, beginning in April before he assumes the position on or before June 1. Blakely Ihrig is resigning from the position to pursue other professional interests.
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