New road commission director ‘excited to start working’

Published 9:18 am Thursday, May 15, 2014

After serving the students of Three Rivers for 15 years, Steve Lucas is ready to take another challenge in the public sector, as the new managing director for the Cass County Road Commission.

The county announced the hire late last week. The five members of the commission had been searching for a new director for several months, following the dissolution of its shared position with St. Joseph County. Previously, Christopher Bolt had served as director of both Cass and St. Joseph counties’ road commissions; however, both entities decided to end that arrangement in January due to the tremendous workload required in both regions.

Steve Lucas

Steve Lucas

The Marcellus resident brings with him 15 years of public management with Three Rivers Community Schools, where he served as their director of operations since July of 1999. Prior to his hire in that position, he held a seat on the district’s school board for five years while working as a process engineer with Bay International.

When approached by the school to serve on the newly created position, Lucas said he decided to give it a chance.

“I thought it would be a good experience, and they thought it was a good match for me,” Lucas said.

As operations director, Lucas oversaw the entire support staff at district’s six facilities, including custodians and food service employees. He also managed building projects, and even negotiated union contracts during his stint.

“I wore a lot of different hats,” Lucas said. “If there was every anything that needed to be done, I stepped in to take care of it.”

One of the most important skills he developed with his duties to Three Rivers was in learning to communicate with various different people and organizations in order to accomplish complicated tasks.

“I’m not going to tell people that I’ll be able to do something that I can’t take care, that I won’t make good on,” Lucas said.

Upon hearing about the director opening in Cass County, Lucas decided to apply for it. He has been concerned about the deterioration of roads in the region, and decided that, if hired, he would be in a position to make a difference, Lucas said.

“The road commission had a need, and the credentials and skill set they were looking for lined up with my own,” he said.

After his interview with the members of the commission, Lucas felt positive about the prospects of working together with the members.

“They are a really good group,” Lucas said. “Each of them brings something unique to the board. I think we make will make a good team. I’m excited to start working with them.”

Lucas is currently wrapping up his final week with Three Rivers schools, and will officially take over as managing director on May 27, he said.

Despite the challenges that await him following the battering that county roads have suffered following this year’s prolonged winter, Lucas is excited to learn the ropes and begin this new chapter in his public service career.

“I’m looking forward to being able to meet everybody, to see the different players on my team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to get to know these people, to see what we can do as team to keep the organization moving forward.”