Eagan utilities superintendent retires
by Hunter Paulson-Smith
After working in the utilities business for 44 years, Wayne Schwanz retired in December as utilities superintendent for the city of Eagan. His contributions to the city are wide-ranging.
“He was very instrumental in looking for and understanding potential problems with new developments based on his experience with past problems,” said Tom Colbert, the director of public works in Eagan.
Schwanz began working in city utilities in 1966 as a part-time employee for the city of Mendota Heights. Later, he moved to Bloomington and then to Eagan where he has served as utilities superintendent for 27 years.
In this position, he oversaw the operation of the city’s utilities, which includes the water treatment plants, water distribution systems, sanitary sewer collection system and storm sewer systems.
The department has grown and improved immensely over the past three decades.
Schwanz has been instrumental in the management of utilities in the city of Eagan for the past few decades. He considers the development of the GIS system, a mapping program used for analyzing and solving problems with Eagan’s utilities, to be among his greatest achievements.
Schwanz also oversaw the expansion and upgrade of Eagan’s north water treatment plant in 2005.
Eagan’s period of significant growth was among the most exciting points in his career, because of the many utility expansions and improvements that were needed at the time, Schwanz said.
Colbert has worked closely with Schwanz for his entire career in Eagan.
“Wayne grew up with the system, he knew the system like the back of his hand,” Colbert said.
Schwanz truly loved his job as utilities superintendent. When reflecting on the many years he worked for the city, he said, “Honestly, I really enjoyed my job, there wasn’t a day I didn’t want to get up and go to work.”
Schwanz has some exciting plans for retirement. He is planning to continue to be involved in his church as well as the Patriot Guard. He is also planning a two- to three-week trip to the Canadian Rockies on his Harley motorcycle.
“Right now I’m pretty open to anything,” Schwanz said. “I have my health and I have my Harley.”
Hunter Paulson-Smith is an intern who attends the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley.