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After a 23-year career with Scott County — including 18 as the county engineer, Jon Burgstrum is retiring effective Dec. 31, 2019.

Burgstrum, 66, who supervises the county's secondary roads staff, has simply said "it's time."

But it is a reality he has been preparing for as he has worked in-house on a succession plan that county leaders will discuss this week. 

Burgstrum has recommended Assistant Engineer Angie Kersten for the position and County Administrator Mahesh Sharma said that will be his recommendation to the Scott County Board of Supervisors, which must approve this hire. The board will discuss the recommendation Tuesday at its committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Burgstrum said he has been preparing Kersten for the past two years to succeed him. "She handles most, if not all, our construction and contract management, so I've been showing her others things like the budget, maintenance, personnel issues and going to the county board." 

Of the promotion, Sharma said "I think this was a natural succession."

He also has an engineering background and knowledge of public works, having previously worked as an engineer in Missouri and Kansas before getting into administration.  

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Burgstrum was hired in 1996 as assistant engineer after 10 years in the same role in Clinton County. He stepped into the county engineer role in June 2006 replacing his boss Larry Mattusch.   

Burgstrum supervises a 35-person secondary roads crew, who oversee maintenance, construction — and snow removal — of the 565 miles of secondary roads which include bridges, culverts and more. During his tenure, the staff has grown to include a fleet manager, technician and roadside vegetation manager as well as an expanded fleet. 

He also oversaw a major remodeling and expansion in 2016 of the county garage, which added a welding bay, service bay and offices. The expansion allowed the office staff to relocate from downtown.  

"We've built quite a few bridges and we're starting to get in paving projects I already paved (previously)," said Burgstrum.

Sharma applauded Burgstrum for his role in the industry, including leadership with the American Public Works Association, Iowa County Engineers Association and Iowa State Association of Counties. 

"He has been heavily involved in the local level, state level and some instances, the national level," Sharma added. "People look at him for his expertise. That's the legacy Jon leaves." 

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