BANGOR – Longtime Public Works Director Dana Wardwell is retiring after 32 years with the city and spent his last day on the job saying goodbye, and getting a lot of handshakes from co-workers.
He started with the city in 1986 and spent the last 14 years leading the Public Works Department. Eric Willett, the city’s fleet maintenance supervisor, will fill his post.
“I’ve always worked in the dirt. You know, I had my own dump trucks and backhoes and stuff,” Wardwell said Friday, while seated at his desk. “Once you work in the dirt, you can’t go back.”
The historic Ice Storm of 1998 that took down trees and knocked out power all over the state is Wardwell’s craziest on-the-job memory. He said crews in Bangor dealt with some 18 inches of ice in places.
“There wasn’t any wind so it was kind of quiet” during the storm 20 years ago, Wardwell said. “And then you’d hear cracking branches and crash, boom when they hit the ground and transformers were exploding. It was pretty eerie.”
Wardwell said he will not miss the middle of the night emergency calls but will miss the people he worked with over the last few decades.
He’s heading to a hunting camp in Willimantic with his buddies for the first week of his retirement and afterward, he plans to spend a lot of time with his grandchildren.