Manhattan Public Works Director Named

Manhattan Public Works Director Rob Ott

Manhattan Public Works Director Rob Ott

Robert K. Ott, P.E., City Engineer, has been promoted to Director of Public Works for the City of Manhattan effective immediately.  Ron R. Fehr, City Manager, for the City of Manhattan, announced the appointment Friday, 15 minutes after Ott was on KMAN’s “In Focus” . speaking as “acting” Public Works Director regarding upcoming road projects.

Ott will assume a key position with the City’s management team.  Ott will be responsible for planning, directing, managing, and overseeing all facets of operations, budget and personnel within the Department of Public Works, which includes administration, engineering, operations, and utilities. 

Functions within the Public Works Department include streets, storm drainage maintenance and construction; fleet maintenance; engineering and GIS; traffic control; drinking water supply, treatment, distribution and storage; and wastewater collection and treatment.  In addition, he will be responsible for overseeing the public works capital improvement program, developing bids and specifications, and administering contracts for design and construction of capital improvement projects.
Fehr said, “I am extremely pleased to promote Rob as the new Director of Public Works.  He has the breadth of engineering and hands-on public works experience, project management, and professional expertise that has prepared him to be successful in this position.  Rob has been charged with several significant projects since his employment with the City and has demonstrated the ability to carry out those assignments with proficiency and quality.  His knowledge base of Manhattan and working relationships with local contractors, engineering firms, the Kansas Department of Transportation, and other local and state officials puts him in a position to hit the ground running to meet current and future infrastructure needs of our growing community.”
Ott has served as City Engineer for the City of Manhattan since April 2005.  As City Engineer, Ott was instrumental in developing and managing the downtown redevelopment project, levee certification, National Bio Agro-Defense Facility utilities relocation, grant programs from the Kansas Department of Transportation, and the formation of the Bicycle Advisory Committee.

He also served as Acting Director of Public Works from January 2007 to May 2007.  Prior to his employment with the City of Manhattan, Ott was employed with the Kansas Department of Transportation from June 2000 to April 2005.  He also served as Combat Engineer Officer from January 1997 to June 2000 at Ft. Riley Kansas in the 70th Engineer Battalion.  Ott replaces the vacancy left by Public Works Director Dale Houdeshell, who resigned from the position January 31, 2014, to accept the Director of Public Works position with the City of Clayton, Missouri.  
“I am extremely honored to have this opportunity to serve the citizens of Manhattan,” stated Ott.  “Our family has called Manhattan home since 1997.  I look forward to expanding my role with the City and with the Public Works team.”

Ott graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University.  He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Kansas and a member of the American Public Works Association.  Ott and his spouse Kim have one son, Landon.

For additional information about the City of Manhattan and the City of Manhattan’s Public Works Department, you can visit the website at


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