Wake County

Longtime Raleigh public works director to retire

Carl Dawson
Carl Dawson

Carl Dawson, who’s led Raleigh’s public works department since 2004, announced this week that he’ll retire on Dec. 1.

Dawson has worked for the city for 26 years and is wrapping up a 40-year career in public works, including time with the N.C. Department of Transportation and the City of Greenville. In 2011, the American Public Works Association named him one of the Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year.

“I am grateful for Carl’s impressive commitment to public service,” City Manager Ruffin Hall said in a news release. “He has been dedicated to ensuring that our city services meet the needs of our residents and are sufficient to address the needs of a growing city.”

Raleigh has grown dramatically in the decade that Dawson led the department. He oversaw construction of the Raleigh Convention Center, City Plaza and the Red Hat Amphitheater, and he’s pushed for additional funding to repave streets and sidewalks.

“As I look back at my 26 years with the City of Raleigh, it is hard to believe how the city has been transformed during this time,” he wrote in a staff email announcing his retirement. “I know that the city’s and the department’s best days are yet to come.”

When Dawson steps down, Richard Kelly will serve as interim public works director. He’s currently the city’s construction management division manager.