The man who guided many projects to improve traffic flow in Stanislaus County is hitting the road for a job in Santa Cruz.
Public Works Director Matt Machado has accepted a position as deputy county administrative officer for Santa Cruz County. His last day on the job here is Wednesday.
Jody Hayes, chief executive officer for Stanislaus County, said that Machado deserves credit for high-profile work, such as the Claribel Road widening, east of McHenry Avenue, that eliminated a bottleneck and gets people to the movies in Riverbank on time.
County leaders said his energy and perseverance brought many other projects to fruition. Machado was the Public Works director in Ripon when the county hired him in 2007.
"Matt will be greatly missed," Hayes said. "He came to the county 11 years ago with a clear vision for what he wanted to improve in our infrastructure and he has far surpassed our expectations."
The county will use an executive search firm to recruit a new Public Works director who will inherit a lengthy to-do list. Machado's department is working on 85 road projects, including 22 bridges that need to be replaced or reinforced at a cost of $240 million. Measure L funding and revenue from the Senate Bill 1 state gasoline tax will give the county more dollars for improving transportation.
Deputy Director David Leamon will serve as the interim department head.
Last week, Machado showed off the new $15 million Public Works center on Morgan Road, which creates a modern workspace that might help to sell the county to outside job candidates.
The center, finished in April, includes an airy administration building in the modern industrial style and a state-of-the-art maintenance shop.
Machado said it replaced a 60-year-old office building at the Morgan Road site and a shop that suffered from a leaky roof and rotten plumbing. "When it was 110 degrees outside it felt like 120 in the shop," he said.
The shop building has overhead lifts to help the mechanics move heavy items into place. The lifts are among the features designed to reduce injuries and workers compensation costs. About 100 employees work at the Morgan Road center.
Machado was one of the candidates considered last year to succeed former county CEO Stan Risen, who retired in August. He said he will oversee public works in Santa Cruz but will have additional management responsibilities.
"He is one of the most straight-shooting guys I worked with in my life," lead mechanic Rick McElligott said. "It's been great. I hate to see him go."