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Spotlight on Brainerd Public Utilities Superintendent Magnuson

He’s not exactly a new face around town, but Scott Magnuson officially has a new title.

After serving as acting Brainerd Public Utilities (BPU) Superintendent for the past nine months, Magnuson was officially given the position March 27. A father of two — Sophia, 12, and Lydia, 11 — originally hailing from Duluth and working a stint in the Twin Cities, Magnuson sat down with the Brainerd Dispatch to answer some questions on where he sees the BPU going and what earning this position means to him.

Dispatch: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Magnuson: I have been in Brainerd since Jan. 1, 2007. I worked for an engineering firm in Minneapolis for eight years and then my wife and I moved our family up here to get out of the (Twin) Cities. I started out as a technician, a drafter, (at BPU) where I did mapping and stuff and then this opportunity (superintendent) came along so I applied for it and I got the job.

I was acting as superintendent for eight or nine months when our previous superintendent (Tom Phelps) got sick and was unofficially his assistant, so I learned a lot on how to do this job and here I am.

Dispatch: What are your duties as superintendent?

Magnuson: We have the electric division, the water and the waste division and I oversee all three divisions. I help out with each department as a supervisor and I am with each one of them, line up work and decide what we are going to do.

Electric is probably 70 percent of the job, that’s our biggest crew and our biggest as far as actually doing work and changing the way things work. Waste and water plant kind of run by themselves, not quite, but there’s not modifications to make to it and the water part is the same thing whereas the electric is updating nonstop.

Dispatch: So what are some of your day to day activities?

Magnuson: It varies. The treatment plant is almost done, I spent a lot of time over there, that’s been three years (of work) in April. It started with my old job, I was put in charge of that and to be the BPU contact between the engineer to oversee that, so that was an everyday thing for me for awhile. Now that is winding down, the water plant is redoing the beds, the electric crew is looking at what we want to do and other than that I answer some phone calls, do some paperwork and stuff always kind of comes up new each day.

Dispatch: Is this a position you have always sought after?

Magnuson: When I first started here, I didn’t even see it happening. I figured I would move up a little bit here and there, but I didn’t know where I’d move until I began working with Tom (Phelps) unofficially.

We would do things together and he would have me do this and that so that’s when I started to see some potential for some advancement but not as fast as it has happened.

Dispatch: What’s your favorite part of being superintendent at BPU?

Magnuson: I don’t know if I have one yet. I guess being able to make a difference, helping people along and trying to get things lined up.

Dispatch: What can Brainerd expect from you as a superintendent?

Magnuson: Hopefully they won’t notice a change. We we’re doing a good job before, our electric system has improved greatly. They started 10 years ago with a conversion, putting stuff underground.

The water plant, we still have good water, chemical free. As long as we are allowed to have that by the state we are going to continue to have chemical free water.

I think they can overall expect me to keep up with the same things we have been doing (at BPU) already.

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).