For immediate release: May 15, 2017
The City of Sultan welcomed a change in leadership last week, as Mayor Carolyn Eslick ushered in newly-hired Public Works Director Noel Higa. As the Public Works Director, Higa is tasked with oversight of the city’s network of roads, parks and utility services.
Higa brings extensive experience in land use, civil engineering, economic development and public works. He spent the bulk of his career as an engineer at Higa-Burkholder Associates, an Everett-based civil engineering firm founded by Higa in 1990.
It was during his 15-year tenure at Higa-Burkholder that he was first introduced to the Sultan area.
Higa’s firm provided the civil engineering for numerous Sultan subdivisions, including Eagle Ridge, North Park and Stratford Place. Stratford Place was a milestone project for Higa, as it was the first subdivision in the state of Washington to incorporate a stormwater management system that relied exclusively on pervious concrete. The entire development, including the roads, parking areas, driveways and sidewalks, was formed using pervious concrete.
The project was honored in 2006 with a first-place Sustainable Merit Award by the Washington Aggregates and Concrete Association (WACA), for its use of the innovative material. Known for its positive environmental impacts, pervious concrete’s rice crispy-like texture allows rainwater to pass directly through to a gravel retention layer below, thereby reducing runoff.
His existing familiarity with the city of Sultan is a huge advantage, said Mayor Carolyn Eslick.
“We are incredibly excited to have Noel on our team,” Eslick said. “His vast experience in civil engineering and existing knowledge of our community make him a tremendous asset.”
After selling his interest in Higa-Burkholder, he spent five years as the economic development director for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and 2-1/2 years as a development engineer in the Whatcom County Public Works Department.
One of the reasons the Sultan position was appealing to Higa is that it affords him the opportunity to work in a more close-knit, intimate setting. It is in smaller communities like Sultan that you are really able to make a positive difference, he said. So far, he’s worked to rapidly familiarize himself with ongoing city projects so that he can begin to have an impact.
“I’ve always been a ‘Let’s figure out how to get it done’ kind of guy. That’s always sort of been my mode,” Higa said. “I think I’m well-suited for this environment.”
Noel said that he looks forward to the challenges of his new position.
“I want to make Sultan a better place for people to live,” Higa said. “I’m just figuring out what needs to be done to make that happen.”
To see the press release, click here: Noel Higa Press Release.