CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — After more than two years without one, the City of Champaign has a permanent Public Works Director.

Champaign City Manager Dorothy Ann David announced on Tuesday that she has appointed Khalil Zaied to the position. Zaied’s first day with the City of Champaign will be October 17.

“I am both grateful and excited for the opportunity to serve as the new Public Works Director for the City of Champaign,” Zaied said in a news release. “It is an honor to work alongside the dedicated and highly skilled group of professionals at the department. I would like to thank the City Manager for her confidence in me and I look forward to serving the residents of this great city.”

Zaied has more than 22 years of engineering and public works-related experience in both municipal governments and the private sector. He spent 20 years of his career in Baltimore, Md. serving as Deputy Mayor of Operations, Director of Department of Transportation, Bureau Head of Department of Public Works and other management and engineering positions. He left Baltimore in 2016 to become Deputy City Manager for Public Works and Transportation for the City of El Paso, Texas, a position he held until 2018. His most recent position, one he will be leaving to take the job in Champaign, is Vice President for Special Projects for KCI Technologies.

David said that Zaied has “extensive experience” managing public works operations including engineering and construction, mass transit, parking, permitting, snow removal, water distribution, stormwater management, traffic safety and parks and recreation. He also has experience managing large capital projects ranging from bridges and highways to schools, museums and recreational facilities.

“Khalil’s extensive background in engineering and municipal government made him the best choice to assume leadership of our Public Works Department,” David said in a news release. “With nearly two decades of experience managing the delivery of critical public works and transportation services, Khalil has demonstrated his leadership capabilities and sharpened his skills through a series of career advancements and increased levels of responsibility. He has demonstrated a professional commitment to providing excellent customer service while leading a team of professionals engaged in complex and detail-oriented work. I’m happy to welcome him to the City’s executive team and I know he’ll be a great asset for our community and the City organization.”

Zaied was selected following a months-long nationwide search that started last October. He will replace Acting Director Dave Clark, who in turn replaced Director of 23 years Dennis Schmidt. Schmidt retired in July of 2020, but the recruitment process was delayed due to a hiring freeze related to the COVID-19 pandemic.