Mayor Names New Water Utility General Manager

Friday, June 6, 2008 - 10:51am

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today nominated Tom Heikkinen to serve as the new General Manager for the Madison Water Utility. Heikkinen would succeed David Denig-Chakroff, who left the post September of last year. City Engineer Larry Nelson has been leading the agency on an interim basis since then.

"Tom has gained extensive management experience during his 15 years with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "He quickly moved up the ranks from a Civil Engineer, to a Senior Plant Engineer, to a Plant Superintendent and finally to his current position since 2004 as Chief of Plant Operations. Most importantly, Tom has a passion for clean water and public service."

Heikkinen has played a critical role in successfully leading a team of 270 employees in providing 170 million gallons per day of clean drinking water to 1.8 million people in the suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C. He oversaw a water distribution system that covered 1,000 square miles with more than 50 storage tanks. He was also responsible for returning clean water to the environment through effective wastewater treatment. As part of his oversight of the utility's energy management program, Heikkinen initiated a program to purchase one-third of the utility's electricity directly from a wind farm.

Heikkinen earned both his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and his Masters of Engineering from the University of Maryland. Heikkinen and his wife have two children.

"I am pleased and honored to have been selected by Mayor Cieslewicz to lead the Water Utility," Heikkinen said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to work with a team of highly experienced, skilled, and dedicated employees as we build on a solid foundation to ensure that the people of Madison continue to have clean, reliable, and plentiful water for decades to come."

Heikkinen's nomination is subject to confirmation by the Madison Water Board and Common Council. He is expected to start in early August.

  • Joel Plant, (608) 266-4611