ROCKFORD — Kyle Saunders, the city’s director of public works, will leave his role this spring to take a job with Fehr Graham, an engineering and environmental services firm with offices around the Midwest, including in Freeport and Rockford.
Mayor Tom McNamara made the announcement Tuesday morning. Saunders last day isn’t set. It’s expected to be around March.
“Kyle will be staying on in his current role until after the city’s snow and ice season. That speaks volumes about the kind of leader Kyle is,” McNamara said in a news release. “He doesn’t want to leave the team during the hectic winter months when crews and supervisors are often called in on the weekends and overnight to clear the streets. He is the epitome of a servant leader.”
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Saunders started with the city as a summer intern in 2008. He joined the engineering division of the Public Works Department in late 2011 as a senior engineering technician. He became superintendent of the Water Division in 2016 and was promoted to director of public works in July 2019.
“The city has been my family for the last 15 years. I really grew up during my tenure here and was incredibly fortunate to have the support, mentorship, and experiences that made me who I am today,” Saunders said. “This was definitely not an easy decision. However, I was presented with an opportunity that provides for continued professional growth, development and challenge.”
Saunders said some of his biggest accomplishments include helping the city implement the largest capital improvement programs in Rockford history for three years in a row. The latest plan allocates $322 million over five years.
He also led the city through multimillion-dollar lead service line replacement and rebuilding of well infrastructure. And, he helped implement workforce development programs with LT Construction and Kee Solutions that gave opportunities for at-risk young adults to learn careers in the trades.
“Kyle is a dynamic leader who prides himself in outstanding service and work ethic. While I am incredibly sad to see him go, I understand this is a tremendous career opportunity,” McNamara said. “I know he will do a fantastic job for Fehr Graham.”