Elkins Appoints New Operations Manager

Sanson brings experience with process and operational excellence

The City of Elkins has a new operations manager who says that “a position like this has been a dream of mine for some time.” The Elkins council appointed Joshua Sanson to lead the city’s Operations Department last night in a unanimous vote. Sanson has lived in Elkins and worked at Davis Medical Center since 2007.

Sanson’s appointment as the new operations manager was recommended by council’s ad hoc Special Hiring Committee, which was formed in the wake of the sudden resignation of the former operations manager last August.

Before advertising this position, the committee first recommended restructuring the Operations Department to improve customer service, increase efficiency, and strengthen compliance with relevant laws, rules, and regulations. Among other changes, these recommendations—which council approved in December—included shifting supervision of the city’s water and wastewater utilities from the Operations Department to their respective boards and chief operators. The committee also spent time revising and improving the position’s job description in consultation with AlignHR, the city’s human resources contractor.

The newly appointed Sanson will supervise the city departments responsible for trash collection; street paving and repairs; code enforcement; building permits and inspections; and the maintenance and upkeep of city hall and other city buildings, facilities, and grounds.

Sanson began his career in the healthcare field as a radiology technician at Davis Medical Center. During his time there, he became interested in a set of management concepts known as process and operational excellence, which are used to improve an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.

“While at DMC, I was invited to join a multidisciplinary team that was redesigning the emergency department’s space and practices,” says Sanson. “That was my first exposure to the concepts of process and operational excellence.”

That initial experience opened the door to a new field.

“After returning to my department, I was chosen to be trained in Lean tools and concepts and selected to help implement a new daily management system called The Davis Way,” says Sanson. “I had the opportunity to teach and coach operational excellence within this new system, all while getting to see the results in concrete improvements to our operations and processes.”

These experiences taught Sanson the value of increased internal communication, including daily “huddles”; problem identification with root-cause analysis; the standardization of processes; and a team approach across departments.

“Coming out of those experiences, I knew I had found my new career,” says Sanson. “I finished my bachelor’s degree and am currently working on a master’s degree in operations and project management.”

Sanson says he can’t wait to put his skills to work as operations manager for the City of Elkins.

“The City of Elkins is one of the most gorgeous towns on the east coast, and it has always held a special place in my heart,” says Sanson, a Webster County native whose family frequently visited Elkins when he was a child. “I’m looking forward to listening and learning from the frontline folks who keep things rolling every day and seeing how I can help the city be the best place it can be.”

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