Martin Radeny: Valuing Teamwork and Leadership
Quinnipiac University’s (QU) Presidential Public Service Fellowship placed several students in positions throughout North Haven. Martin Radeny, a senior at QU, joined the town’s engineering department for the summer, learning that one of the most recommendable aspects of being in the municipal sphere is that it is not a space where one would find themselves “dealing with people, but working with people.”
“Whether that’s working with colleagues or working with people who come in or working with contractors, there’s a lot that goes into sustaining professional relationships, but also forming good connections that can be useful in the future,” says Radeny. “There was more to learn than just [the] engineering aspects of things.”
Radeny says he decided to participate in the fellowship to learn about the experience of others who worked in the town engineering departments and garner the experiences and skills that could better inform his education. Combining all that with forming those close working relationships makes it a good recipe for giving back to others.
“I grew up in a lot of developing countries, and I always saw different needs that people would have and different needs that are not being met. So one of my curiosities was to see how different sorts of local governments are run because I want to get that leadership experience to maybe go back and help some of those communities,” says Radeny.
Because the public works department encompasses North Haven’s engineering department, as are its land use and building departments, Radeny saw just how involved that whole section of the town is. There was then always a task for him when he came to work.
“With engineering, there was always something to do so because some of the projects that the town engineer Andy [Bevilacqua] wanted to help with are going to take him much more time to get done just because at this time he’s by himself.”
Bevilacqua performs a number of engineering tasks, such as examining standard detail drawings of roads with the help of AutoCAD software.
“[We look at] the standard of how a typical commercial road should be done and what are the different lengths and distances between the reserve and pipes,” explains Radeny. “One of [Andy’s] projects is digitizing some of the old drawings. I can’t even tell you how many there are! I took part in scanning them and trying to help catalog them into a new filing system.”
Other projects Radeny focused on were marking catch basins to prevent the risk of littering in them and crack sealing marking and measuring to “enhance the lifetime” of town roads. One of the most important tasks was visiting vacant town-owned properties.
“I think that’s what took us the most time, just because the town has so many properties. So we did a lot of those, did inspections, and then wrote up reports after those.”
Radeny says one of the engineering aspects that comes into the fold when visiting vacant properties is mapping out those parcels of land to lessen what would otherwise be a very time-consuming process.
“I created an Excel sorting system, which is part of what I learned in one of my engineering classes, and through that, we’re able to make a more efficient map of how to go around and go to these properties,” he says. “I took an environmental engineering class, so I think having an idea of what to look for in terms of contaminants that can be found in properties was key.”
Radeny got to see just how much of a team effort it takes to improve services and conditions around North Haven, even if just one person was missing during the day.
“If someone is sick, sometimes it has a really big impact in terms of the services that can be offered.”
He says that for anyone curious about working in the municipal space, embracing that element of a team effort and the people of a town is crucial to getting things done.
“You will be surrounded by people, and the work that you do, a lot of it, is for the people. I think there’s an aspect of being able to be comfortable around people.”
Radeny is always looking to be the leader of whatever team he comes across, such as his current role as the president of Qunnipiac’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
“Leadership is definitely something that I value. There are definitely qualities that a leader has that are key to using, especially in group work and teamwork. At least in engineering, I know that teamwork is something that is going to be occurring a lot. So I think it’s definitely important to have some of those leadership qualities.”