After 26 years with the City, and more than 20 years in a directorial role, Jeff Chambers, 59, has retired.
In a party atmosphere at City Hall, the director of public works was sent off with well-wishes as coworkers praised him for his nearly 30-year service.
“He’s made such great contributions in our community,” City Manager Michael Scott said. “Being in his position for 26 years in a growing community, it’s definitely an opportunity to put your fingerprint on the community and he’s done that.”
“In an older community, a lot of times a simple textbook solution isn’t always workable, and he’s been able to have these practical means to make projects work, and so we will miss him,” Scott added.
Without hesitation, Chambers said he would mostly miss his colleagues whom he likened to kinfolk.
“I have the best staff, and the council has been super supportive,” the retiree said. “These people have become my family, to be honest with you, and that’s the part I’m going to miss, hands down.”
“I’m going to be 60 in November, so I’ve been here roughly half my life and almost all of my entire professional career, and we’ve had some very successful street programs and projects that turned out very well, and that has made my career worthwhile so it has essentially made my life worthwhile,” he added.
When Chambers moved to Waxahachie nearly three decades ago after spending 11 years in the Air Force, he never imagined the rollercoaster course that life would take him through, but he said his coworkers were there while he climbed a few uphill battles.
“They’ve (coworkers) seen me through cancer, the death of my wife …” Chambers elaborated.
The Daily Light first featured Chambers in 2009. Here is a look back on some of the things we learned about his illustrious life and career.
Growing up in upstate New York, the military veteran began working with his hands in the family junkyard business, sorting and taking apart the different machines that found a second life as scrap metal or spare parts. He later worked in carpentry and construction work. A young Chambers graduated from Erie Community College with an associate’s degree in construction technology.
With limited opportunities at home due to the downturn in the steel industry, Chambers joined the Air Force. During his time in the military, he lived in Europe and Korea.
“When I got out of college, despite having an associate’s degree, there was not a whole lot of work. So I ended up looking at the four branches of the service and ended up in the Air Force. That is one of the better decisions of my life and really enjoyed it a lot,” Chambers said.
“Engineering technician was my job when I was in the military and it is similar to what I’m doing now. You have to do surveys, drafting, construction inspection and engineering technology, which is where you do basic design work,” he added.
After leaving the military, Chambers was hired by the city of Waxahachie as an engineering technician. Just three years later, he was promoted to the director of public works role to oversee road maintenance, the storm drainage system and all new construction of public infrastructure.
With a far less hectic schedule, the now former-director is looking forward to visiting his daughter and grandchildren in Virginia, enjoying lots of kayaking and working on his house.