NEWINGTON - The town welcomed a new department head recently.
Gary Fuerstenberg has taken over as town engineer, filling the vacancy left by Chris Greenlaw earlier in the fall.
The Town Council presented Fuerstenberg a proclamation at its most recent meeting, his official introduction to the public and a chance to meet elected officials.
“I believe and I have witnessed that he is making a wonderful transition to our staff,” Town Manager Tanya Lane said.
Fuerstenberg brings 20-plus years of civil engineering experience to Newington as a consultant, contractor and educator. Originally from Madison, Wis., he earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin before going on to earn a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering.
He is a licensed professional engineer in 11 states, including Connecticut.
“It all started in a great big sandbox under an apple tree in the backyard,” Fuerstenberg explained. “I love engineering and the outdoors. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Councilors reviewed his resume and credentials.
Gail Budrejko pointed out an interesting piece of personal history.
“I’m most impressed that you hiked the Appalachian Trail,” she said. “If you can do that, you can withstand the pressures in Newington.”
Fuerstenberg went on to share with the group his and his wife’s tale of their 6 1/2-month, 2,180-mile journey.
“It was a great learning experience,” he said. “My backpack always stays half-packed in the basement. If I get the opportunity, I’ll head outdoors.”
He is also an active volunteer, as chairman of the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers’ Geotechnical Engineering Committee and on the Industrial Advisory Committee at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich.
He also served as a Boy Scout troop leader for many years.
“I’ve made a great introduction to the staff and I’m looking forward to working with all of you,” Fuerstenberg said.
“You’ll be seeing a lot of us in upcoming months,” Mayor Roy Zartarian told him.
The town engineer is responsible for planning, directing, supervising, budgeting and coordinating professional engineering services for the town. He is primarily concerned with roads, storm drainage, septic systems, water lines, street lighting and bridges.
He also provides oversight to the town’s Inland Wetlands Commission and assists in the review of development plans for the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.