Michael Freitas, Chief of Public Works, Albemarle County
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in San Diego, CA but lived in several places while growing up – my father was a Marine.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved here in February 2006 when I accepted my current position. There were many factors influencing the decision. From a job perspective, it’s very satisfying to work for such a respected local government. From a quality of life standpoint, one would be hard pressed to find a better place to live. And my wife (a graduate of UVa) has always loved the area. When the opportunity arose, we took it.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in the rural part of the County.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
My wife, Lorri, and I have one son, Wesley (also a graduate of UVa). And lest I forget, our beagle – Munch.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I received a BA from the Virginia Military Institute in 1978 and an MS from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1988.
What were you doing before you came to work for the county?
I worked for two other local governments, a road construction company, and I also spent some time as a Marine.
Your job title is County Chief of Public Works – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
Our Public Works Division (a part of the Department of General Services) is not the typical public works that deals with roads, water/sewer, and solid waste collection and disposal. The preponderance of our responsibilities is associated with facility maintenance (buildings, grounds, and custodial). We also run a full service print shop and have a role in the County’s fleet management.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The most enjoyable aspect of my job is working with a very talented staff.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Many of our functions support the other departments of the County who provide services to the community. We do have a roll in the recovery efforts following natural disasters such as the debris cleanup after last year’s deracho. Also, regardless of what part of the County you live in there is likely to be a 911 road name sign nearby. Our folks maintain these signs, replacing them when damaged.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the county?
I participated in the County’s Strategic Planning process.
What is a little-known fact about you?
My killer chili recipe.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I enjoy gardening (food rather than flowers) and am an avid reader – mainly histories or historical fiction.