June 2006

Whenever I meet with a highway or DPW superintendent to do a profile interview, I’m almost always asked how we decide who gets profiled. So I thought now was as good a time as any to explain how we select the superintendents to be profiled each month of “Superintendent’s Profile.”

Whom to profile is determined by one of two ways: one, a superintendent is nominated by a peer, department member or equipment dealer, or two, I call a superintendent who works in a specific area of New York State where we haven’t covered in a while.

The first way often occurs by a phone call or e-mail. Somebody, most often a highway or DPW department member, will call or write saying something like, “My boss has worked in the department for ‘X’ number of years and I think he would be overjoyed to be profiled in the magazine.”

Then, after we check to see whether or not he or she has been previously profiled, I’ll call and spring the good news on him or her (with so many superintendents and towns, villages and counties still left to highlight, we’ll rarely profile the same person twice, even if it had been done many years ago.)

The second method is used to balance our coverage of the state. Like any publisher, we want our magazine to appeal to as many readers as possible. As a result, we try to equitably cover all of New York State. For example, if it’s June and we’ve already covered three western New York area profiles in that year, then, unless there’s a special circumstance involving a superintendent in that area, we’ll want to do profiles in New York City, Long Island, the Capital District or northern New York State. In general, among the 11 issues we publish each year, I like to have three profiles from western New York State, three within a 150-mi. radius of Albany, three on Long Island, New York City or in Westchester County and one each in the north or south along the Pennsylvania border — or some variation of all of this.

Then once a superintendent has agreed to be profiled, I’ll send a three-page questionnaire to him or her. This questionnaire helps to get the interview process moving forward and covers basic information such as lane miles of highway, plow routes, equipment fleet, etc. Once that has been returned to me, one of our writers or I will set up an in-person interview. That’s all there is to it.

We hope you enjoy this month’s profile on retired Town of Augusta Highway Superintendent Wayne Russell. P

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.