County highway commissioner resigns
By Robert Cloud
Highway Commissioner Dean Steingraber is leaving Waupaca County to take on the same role in Outagamie County.
His final day serving Waupaca County will be Friday, Dec. 18.
Steingraber began working as Waupaca County’s highway commissioner in April 1999. Before that he spent nine years in Outagamie County as a highway engineer.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Plattville with a degree in civil engineering, Steingraber’s first job was as a highway engineer in Waupaca County.
Like New London, the city where he was born and raised, Steingraber has been involved with both counties his entire life.
“The day the Outagamie County highway commissioner resigned, I heard from employees over there about the job opening,” Steingraber said.
Comparing the two counties’ highway systems, he noted that Outagamie has 81 employees, while Waupaca has 67.
Although Outagamie County’s population is about 180,000 and Waupaca County has just over 52,000 people, Steingraber said both have about the same miles of roadway that the counties must maintain. The difference is Outagamie County has more four-lane county highways, an interstate and more traffic going over its roads.
When asked about his accomplishments, Steingraber said his department has become more efficient and able to do more work with less people. The number of employees with the Waupaca County Highway Department has dropped from 85 to 67 people since 1999.
“That’s not my accomplishment, that’s everybody’s acomplishment,” Steingraber said.
He also noted that the county has developed five-year plans to upgrade its roads.
“The Waupaca County Board has committed to investing in the county road system, to rebuilding out bridges and roads,” Steingraber said.
“We hate to lose him. He’s a good man,” according to Bob Flease, chairman of the county highway committee. “I hope there will be somebody good out there that we can get.”
Flease said the county will be advertising for a new commissioner in December.
“I am looking forward to the new job, but I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye,” Steingraber said. “There are a lot of good people over here and over there, too.”