Selected after a nationwide search and department-wide feedback, Pitcairn brings decades of value-driven leadership and relevant experience to the role

Mayor Tim Kelly’s administration today announced the appointment of Ross Pitcairn as the new Administrator for the Department of Public Works. 

As a commissioned officer and engineer with the U.S. Navy for more than 20 years, Pitcairn brings a wealth of experience in engineering, infrastructure, facilities, solid waste, and safety – as well as a values-based approach to leadership that aligns with Kelly’s One Chattanooga plan. 

City Council approved Pitcairn’s appointment during their regularly scheduled meeting this evening, and his appointment will be effective June 16. 

“The Department of Public Works is made up of some of the City’s most essential workers, the folks who work around the clock to repair and maintain our roads and keep our city clean,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “Identifying a dedicated leader for this critical department has been a major priority, and Ross fits the bill in every sense. Throughout the extensive interview process, it became clear that he has the vision and experience needed to do the job well, along with the value-driven leadership style we are prioritizing city-wide. I am thrilled to have him on board.” 

A native of Bay Saint Louis, Miss., Pitcairn spent the last 21 years as a Civil Engineer Corps Officer with the U.S. Navy, dedicated to maintaining the Navy’s infrastructure and supporting combatant commanders with contingency engineering support. 

His appointment as Administrator came after a lengthy, transparent recruitment process that involved team members from across the Department of Public Works. As one of three finalist candidates identified through phone and panel interviews, Pitcairn visited Chattanooga at the end of February for two in-person interview panels and an open presentation and Q&A session recorded for all department employees to watch. Employees were invited to submit a survey with feedback on the three finalists, the results of which were reviewed by senior staff as part of the final decision making process. 

“Ross’s extensive experience makes him uniquely qualified for this role, but just as importantly, he lives out the One Chattanooga values in his daily work – serving others with urgency, treating others with dignity and respect, being a problem solver, and doing the right thing,” said Chief Operating Officer Ryan Ewalt, who has been serving as Interim Administrator. “Ross is a leader who seeks to listen and be physically present with all levels of the team, which I have learned firsthand is critically important for this department. We are so grateful to have him join the team.” 

Pitcairn received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Alabama and went on to obtain his Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado. He currently lives in Virginia with his wife and three children and enjoys running, biking, and spending time with family.