South Pasadena has hired a new public works director, City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe announced Wednesday.

Shahid Abbas, a 20-year veteran of municipal and county governments who holds advanced degrees in civil engineering, management and planning, has been named to the position, succeeding Dan Ojeda, who had served as interim public works director since December 2018.

In his new position, Abbas will oversee day-to-day operations of the public works department, including streets, parks and facilities maintenance, lighting and landscaping, water and sewers, as well as capital improvement projects and environmental sustainability programs.

Abbas joins the South Pasadena team after leading the public works division for the City of Sunnyvale since 2015. Prior to that, Abbas served in engineering, environmental, and public works management positions for the County of Arlington, Va., and Kalamazoo, Mich.

Throughout his career Abbas has overseen hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvement projects related to streets, roadways and bridges, water treatment and sewer facilities, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly improvements, civic facility construction and more. 

“Shahid’s extensive leadership experience and educational background are a perfect fit for South Pasadena as we embark on a variety of capital improvement and environmental sustainability projects,” said DeWolfe. “We are very excited to have him on board.”

Abbas’ experience with sustainability initiatives includes climate action, urban forestry, stormwater, landfill diversion and more.

Abbas, who began his South Pasadena position July 8, oversees a newly reorganized department of 33 full-time employees and a $9.7 million budget. 

The city recently reorganized the public works department to provide more focus on environmental sustainability, DeWolfe said. The department now has two sections, one dedicated to water and sustainability and the other to engineering and operations, which includes infrastructure maintenance.

Abbas holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan State and a master’s degree in management and planning from Cranfield University in the UK.

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