Longtime San Jose employee rises to public works director
Matt Loesch receives a standing ovation from the San Jose City Council and his colleagues for his promotion to public works director after his speech on June 13, 2023. Screenshot from San Jose City Council meeting livestream.

    A San Jose employee of more than two decades is taking the helm to oversee the city’s public infrastructure.

    Matt Loesch fought back tears standing before the San Jose City Council as he accepted his promotion on June 13 to lead the city’s public works department. Since January, he served as acting director after his predecessor Matt Cano moved to work in Milpitas.

    The culmination of Loesch’s 22 years of public service, coupled with kind words and a standing ovation from city officials, made for an emotional moment in the council chambers.

    “I am grateful for the trust and faith placed in me in this appointment,” Loesch said at the meeting. “Our work suits me—largely not in the limelight and in service of others. I really do love all the services we provide.”

    Matt Loesch is San Jose’s public works director. Photo courtesy of San Jose.

    Loesch, 50, started his career with the city in 2001 as an engineer and worked his way up to assistant public works director. In his decades of service, Loesch modernized the city’s emergency response system and cellular infrastructure, particularly in disenfranchised areas of San Jose, according to the city website. More recently as acting director, he has overseen the wage theft prevention program and San Jose Animal Care Center.

    “I’ve had some pretty awesome and interesting experiences. My work has taken me to the full extent of our city boundaries,” Loesch said. “Some lesser known things I’ve gotten to do is I’ve been in our radio communications Faraday cage. I’ve surveyed the elevation of the top of the SAP Center… and helped lead the groundbreaking (of city hall).”

    Running the public works department is no easy task with an annual operating budget of $201 million, 647 employees and a wide range of responsibilities. The director leads the maintenance and construction of roads, stormwater drains and other public infrastructure, in addition to overseeing animal care and services, management and construction of public facilities like city hall or libraries and regulating private development.

    City Manager Jennifer Maguire lauded Loesch’s decades of public service.

    “Matt has demonstrated the importance of innovating and implementing new tools for the benefit of both the built and lived environments, with equity and sustainability in mind,” Maguire said.

    Mayor Matt Mahan thanked him for his leadership and contributions.

    “We’re all very excited to see everything (Loesch) and the incredible team behind (him) here will be doing for our residents in the years ahead,” Mahan said. “Loesch’s leadership will help us strategically upgrade city infrastructure and leverage new technologies to improve quality of life for our residents.”

    Loesch’s voice shook as he thanked his parents, wife and four daughters for their love and support. He also thanked his past supervisors within the city for their guidance.

    “(To my daughters) you are the reason for any of my successes and my purpose in life. To get your unwavering support and love and understanding have been my anchor,” Loesch said. “I will do my level best to be worthy of the gift of leadership.”

    Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or follow @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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