Virginia Valentine is responsible for the executive oversight of the country’s 15th largest county that provides both regional and municipal-type services to more than 2 million residents. In her position as the county’s chief executive officer, she is charged with carrying out the policies established by the seven-member Board of County Commissioners. Valentine is responsible for the fiscal management of the county’s $5.9 billion budget and provides administrative oversight for 38 diverse and geographically dispersed departments (including McCarran International Airport and University Medical Center), and the more than 10,000 employees.
Valentine was an assistant county manager for Clark County from November 12, 2002 until her appointment as county manager. Valentine oversaw numerous county departments including Air Quality & Environmental Management, Comprehensive Planning, Development Services, Family Services, Fire, Public Works, Real Property Management, Social Service and the Water Reclamation District. Previously, Valentine served as city manager for the City of Las Vegas, which has 16 departments, 2,800 employees and, at the time, a fiscal year (2002) combined budget of $740 million.
Her appointment there in 1998 was preceded by her position as senior vice president of a national consulting engineering firm. There, Valentine was principal in charge of the Public Works and Environmental projects. Valentine has more than 10 years of combined experience working in the private sector and is a registered professional engineer in Nevada. Valentine was the first chief engineer and general manager of the Clark County Regional Flood Control District, which was created in 1986. As general manager of the newly formed agency, she developed all the district’s programs including Master Planning, Capital Improvement, Regulatory, Flood Warning and Storm Water Quality programs.
Valentine has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho. She is the author of various articles in the areas of flood control master planning and storm water management and is a current member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council.
In this episode, Virginia talks about what most keeps her up at night, her greatest professional accomplishment and regret, as well as her admiration for Marie Curie. She also shares her thoughts on current threats and opportunities for the civil engineering industry in terms of the shifting focus from project design to a more holistic systems approach.