Harold Feder, Cub Reporter | Crest Road
|Eric Minicilli. Photo Harold Feder.
I am an unabashed supporter of Del Mar’s Public Works Department, so I was saddened to learn that Eric Minicilli, the Department head, was leaving to take a similar position in Imperial Beach. The only positives were knowing that this was a big promotion for Eric. And, it gave me a reason to interview him.
Q: The obvious first question is why?
A: I have had my eye on this job for a long time. I previously worked in and currently live in Coronado with my family. So the commute is much shorter. I can ride my bike on the Strand to work. Also, my new department employs 26 full time workers and additional seasonal workers (versus eight in Del Mar).
Q: How is the Imperial Beach situation compared to Del Mar?
A: Obviously, Imperial Beach is a different community from Del Mar. However, the town is in a condition similar to Del Mar when I first arrived over eight years ago. There are many projects ready to start and I will get the opportunity to navigating and seeing them through.
Q: Talk about the accomplishments of the Public Works Department since you took over.
A: There is a lot to be proud of. We have completed award-winning projects like the Torrey Pines Bridge. The pump station was completely rebuilt. I am most proud of how we have integrated our staff into the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). Before this, the work was separated from our staff and was directed by the City’s engineer (non-staff). Now, we are involved in these projects from day one and can contribute our local knowledge, which is extremely helpful. Guys on both sides mesh to make the projects better and more efficient.
Q: Is there anything you wish you could have accomplished?
A: Streetscape. This project was the #1 priority for the last 6 or 7 years, and I would have loved to have been a part of it.
Q: What is it like dealing with the residents?
A: It is a pleasure. We have a process that is very inclusive. While there is a cost in terms of time and sometimes money, the projects are better for it. In the end, we get a better project. I love it when the residents call and give feedback, as our department only has so many eyes.
Q: What can the residents do to help the department?
A: Good question. Patience, patience! We know construction projects can be unpleasant and there are times when things don’t go as expected. The residents should know that we are not always in full control, and that we try to make everything go as well as possible.
Q: What lessons have you learned?
A: I have learned much from my staff. First, they are happiest when they are most busy. They know the town and residents better than I ever will. My folks are accessible and have great people skills. These skills blew me out of the water and I have learned from them.
Q: Any advice to your successor?
A: Under-promise and over-achieve.
Q: Tell me something I don’t know about Public Works.
A: We love our separate space, and the fact that we are not in City Hall. It is great to have our own domain and yet still be close to City Hall.
Q: Anything you want to say to the residents?
A: It has been a blast. The people have been wonderful and I am very proud of my time here. Also, I am not gone forever. I will still come up on Sunday and play beach volleyball. I will also come up to enjoy the concerts. For my career, this has been perfect. I am where I want to be and I owe it to the town.
I know that I speak for all of Del Mar in wishing Eric the best of health and success in his new position!