The City of Fishers Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all municipal assets. The impact of their work is felt throughout the entire community, from the streets, to the parks, to the schools, and beyond.
“Citizens might not be aware of all of the ways they engage Public Works every day, from driving to work, to sports practices after school, to enjoying events around the city,” said Eric Pethtel, Director of Fishers DPW.
The department is responsible for 340 center lane miles of roads and associated right-of-way, and maintaining 1,300 acres of parks and school grounds and 35 buildings around the city. DPW also runs the wastewater treatment plant, which averages 8 million gallons per day, and oversees 22 lift stations and more than 20,000 storm and sanitary sewer structures. And that’s just a drop in the bucket when it comes to everything DPW does.
“People lean on us the most,” said Pethtel. “When a citizen has a problem, they call Police and Fire, but when Police and Fire have a problem, they call us.”
Pethtel has been with Fishers DPW for nearly 30 years, where he started as the department’s first inspector in 1991. He’s seen the department evolve as Fishers has grown from a small town to a bustling, vibrant city.
Assistant Director Eric Steiner, who has been with the City for two years, says, “We’re not your typical DPW. We maintain 120 sports fields that welcome more than 10,000 kids a year. We set up for over 400 city events, from Spark!Fishers to Boo Bash. We’re always busy and every day is different.”
Each winter season the department is busy battling the winter snow—or the “snow fight,” as they call it.
Preparation begins in the spring, and Fishers DPW works year-round to ensure that they are ready for the winter season. Salt is mined in Toledo and brought to Indiana through a combination of barge and rail. Two salt barns are filled to the brim for the season, and a team of more than 140 snow plow drivers are prepped to ensure that the city roads are safe and clear.
“This department never stops thinking about the snow fight,” said Pethtel. “We’re always planning for it, and striving to do better than the year before.”
This dedication to self-improvement is at the core of the Fishers DPW team. In 2013, Fishers DPW became the first accredited agency in the state by the American Public Works Association (APWA). Today, they remain the only accredited department in Indiana. The accreditation demands excellence, and the department works towards this every day.
“We’re always striving to provide the highest level of service to our community,” said Pethtel.
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