Georgetown, Del., Dec. 12, 2023: Sussex County’s top engineer has designs on the next phase of life: retirement.
County Engineer Hans M. Medlarz, who was appointed County Engineer in 2015, announced on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, that he will retire from the post in early 2024. Mr. Medlarz will remain with the County for several months following that to close out a variety of projects and assist his yet-to-be-named successor during the upcoming transition.
Mr. Medlarz said after some six decades of service in both the public and private sectors, now is the time to ease into retirement and enjoy the spoils of his efforts. He thanked officials for entrusting him in the post, the third highest appointment in County government.
“I believe the County Council and the leadership of the County have supported me in initiating some pretty substantial projects and implementing technological improvements that I believe have really moved Sussex County forward,” said Mr. Medlarz, of Milford. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served the people of Sussex County and for having this organization be the positive note that culminates 45 years of professional engineering. It’s been very satisfying.”
Mr. Medlarz can count a number of accomplishments during his tenure with Sussex County, including implementing a reimbursement process for private development use of publicly funded infrastructure; expansion of the South Coastal Regional Wastewater Facility; negotiating multiple partnerships with other private and municipal utility providers, including the City of Rehoboth Beach and the Lewes Board of Public Works; and rewriting County codes as they relate to land use, as well as water and sewer utilities.
County Administrator Todd F. Lawson, who has worked closely with Mr. Medlarz during his service, praised him for his professionalism and astute understanding of wastewater and other complex engineering concepts. “Hans is one of the best engineers in the state, and Sussex County has benefited tremendously from his tenure with us. On a personal note, I have enjoyed my time with Hans – literally in the trenches – working on numerous issues in the engineering world. Hans has taught me a lot as a coworker and as a friend, and I will miss his energy and passion,” Mr. Lawson said.
County Council President Michael H. Vincent concurred. “It has been a true pleasure working with Hans, someone who always looks for the solution and will find it every time. He is a true professional and a positive influence on everyone in our organization. I will truly miss our relationship in working together and I wish him all the best in his retirement,” Mr. Vincent said.
The role of County Engineer is a significant appointment within County government, overseeing a staff of nearly 180 people in five divisions that are responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining County projects. Those projects include public wastewater systems and various County facilities. Engineering is the single-largest department within County government, and one of its most critical, employing engineers, project managers, draftsmen, construction technicians, wastewater operators, electricians, and maintenance crews, among others.
Prior to joining Sussex County in 2015, Mr. Medlarz served as the top engineer for neighboring Kent County. There, he oversaw a department of nearly 90 employees that was responsible for, among other duties, public wastewater and solid waste collection. He also has experience in the private sector, and holds a master’s of science degree in engineering from Georgia Tech.
A respected member of the engineering community who was named Delaware Engineer of the Year for 2018, Mr. Medlarz is a past president of the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers, and is the acting chairman of the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council, which advises the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary on capital spending for wastewater and water-related projects statewide.
The County’s focus now turns to replacing Mr. Medlarz, who informed officials in the fall of his intention to retire. Since then, the County has conducted a search, and Council on Tuesday voted in public session to offer the position to an interviewed candidate. If the candidate accepts, County officials hope to name and have the new engineer on board sometime in January 2024.