Tester named public works director for Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 26, 2023

SALISBURY — Chris Tester is now Salisbury’s permanent public works director after carrying the “interim” title for the previous four months.

As public works director, Tester is responsible for city-owned roadways, solid waste, stormwater services and cemeteries, in addition to directing the city’s fleet of vehicles and buildings. He manages 80 employees throughout six divisions.

“Chris is my first, permanent management team member hire,” Salisbury City Manager Jim Greene said in a news release, “and I’m thrilled to be able to offer him the job. He’s shown great leadership during his interim stint, so I know he is up for the challenge of leading this hardworking group. When we began discussions around this director search, we received feedback from the public works team about what they wanted in a new director. We also identified the skills needed to move the department forward successfully. Chris possesses those skills and then some. He hit the ground running back in October and has truly engaged the staff. I expect nothing but great things from him in the future.”

“I appreciate City Manager Greene, and his confidence in my abilities to continue leading the public works team on a permanent basis,” said Tester. “As I mentioned in my interim announcement, one of my main goals is to make sure our staffing is meeting the service needs of our residents. Our most important mission is to keep the city clean and safe for residents and those who visit and work in Salisbury. I am grateful to have this tremendous opportunity to serve as a city management team member.”

More recently, Tester served as assistant public works director, directly managing garbage, leaf and recycling waste management; construction and maintenance of city infrastructure such as greenways, parks, bridges, streets and stormwater drainage systems. He also supervised select project management of city infrastructure and facilities.

He began his career with the city of Salisbury in 2008 as an engineer in Salisbury-Rowan Utilities. In 2013, he transferred to the public works department, where his duties included civil engineering and design of stormwater infrastructure, supervision of city street maintenance, management of street department staff, budgeting of street department funds and coordination with city administration and Salisbury City Council.

Tester holds a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and management from North Carolina State University and obtained his professional engineer license (P.E.) in 2009. He is a graduate of Leadership Rowan, the University of North Carolina School of Government’s Municipal and County Administration program, the city of Salisbury City Manager Leadership Academy Graduate and a member of Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society.