Donovan Branche, Acting City Engineer, City of Charlottesville
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was raised in Orange, VA.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I came to Charlottesville in 2008 after working in Washington, DC and Harrisonburg, VA. It’s good to be back home and with my family.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in Ruckersville , VA.
Family (spouse, kids, etc)?
I am married to a handsome Englishman, I have 2 children, 3 dogs, 1 cat and 1 rat. I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to convince my husband that we need chickens and a goat.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I earned my undergraduate degree from Mary Baldwin College and my master’s from James Madison University. I’m currently a doctoral student at James Madison University.
What were you doing before coming to City of Charlottesville?
As previously stated, I worked in DC and Harrisonburg. Before that, I worked at the University of Virginia and attended school full-time.
Your job title is Acting City Traffic Engineer – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
My work involves anything concerning the Charlottesville street system. You name it, I’m probably involved in some way.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is dealing with community members. I get to meet a lot of interesting people. I also get to work with virtually every department with the City. Every day is a different day. The most difficult part is balancing safety, community wants, and fiscal constraints.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Anyone who walks, bikes, drives or rides is impacted by what I do.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with City of Charlottesville?
I’ve had the opportunity to work on many interesting projects. The most gratifying was the work I was able to accomplish was with the Pedestrian Safety Committee . We were able to significantly improve several main corridors in the City.
What is a little known fact about you?
People who meet me in public would be very surprised to know that I’m really an introvert. I have to psych myself up to meet people and after the meeting I have to refuel. Thankfully I have a job that forces me to be social because who knows what would happen otherwise.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc?
I love to feed people, visit antique shops, and play in the dirt. I dream of having a flower and vegetable garden like my grandparents. I have a long way to go.