George Stephanos transitioned from watching over U.S. waterways to watching over the city of Bowie’s streets, lights, pipelines and plugging potholes.
Stephanos, a 30-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard and Crofton resident, was hired as Bowie’s new public works director and starting June 2 will oversee the city’s road repaving project this summer as well as services like recycling, mosquito control and traffic calming.
Stephanos, 52, said his career as a civil engineer with the Coast Guard prepared him for his new role of public service.
“I was interested in continuing public service in a local government,” he said. “[This position] perfectly fit what I was looking for.”
Stephanos replaced James Henrikson, who led the public works department for nearly 30 years before retiring in February. The Coast Guard veteran said one of his main goals will be offering continuity of service for Bowie residents and picking up where Henrikson left off.
“What I have discussed with the city management is that the public works department has an outstanding reputation and my goal is to continue to deliver that great service,” he said.
One of Stephanos’ first major undertakings will be directing the re-pavement of about 14 miles of deteriorating streets in various areas of the city, he said.
While snow, ice and salt can contribute to potholes and other street damage, Stephanos said Bowie’s roads fared better last winter than he expected.
“I walked in the door knowing how difficult the winter was,” he said. “But [the damage] wasn’t extraordinary this year as you might have thought. We were fortunate.”
Naomi Kirkpatrick of Bowie said she has noticed a few sections of road in the city that could use repaving.
“They’re potholes all over the place,” she said. “I think we had a rough spring, and I think they tried to patch [the roads] in a couple places, but I think the patches are sometimes worse than the road itself.”
David Deutsch, Bowie city manager, said in a statement that Stephanos’ work for the Coast Guard supplied him with a variety of qualifications for his new position.
“George Stephanos has most ably served his country and the Coast Guard for 30 years in a variety of engineering logistics and public works positions,” he said. “We are excited to be welcoming a man with such wide experience to our management team.”
Stephanos, who said he grew up in Adelphi, said he was happy to return to Prince George’s County and is looking forward to performing his new position.
“I’m really excited about being able to serve the city of Bowie and joining a really fantastic team of city employees,” he said. “It seems like a really dedicated group.”