The City Council announced last Tuesday that Steve Huang, the city’s Director of Engineering and Building Services will be retiring in December after 16 years of working for Redondo Beach.
Huang, who was born in China and grew up in Taiwan, moved to the United States in 1972. After living and working in Michigan for ten years he moved to California because of the weather. He began working in Redondo Beach in 1995 as a Civil Engineer and was promoted to City Engineer and Chief Building Official a year later. He also simultaneously headed the newly reorganized Engineering and Building Services Department.
“Steve’s been very involved in aggressively accomplishing our capital projects and has an amazing capacity to get the job done,” said City Planning director Aaron Jones. “It’s been a pleasure working with him.”
According to Jones, it’s difficult to pinpoint the accomplishments Huang has been involved in because most of them are infrastructure based, such as the waste water and storm water system upgrades.
“They are all successful due to his stewardship of those systems,” said Jones.
Throughout his years with the city, he has been responsible for improving the city-wide wastewater system and was in charge of designing a storm-water capacity assurance plan. He was also responsible for renovating the Performing Arts Center, Alta Vista Community Center and the North Redondo Beach Library. As well as the renovation projects, he has been involved in many streetscape improvement projects on Artesia Boulevard and on the Esplanade.
“Steve’s management of our infrastructure has been an exceptional benefit to the community,” said Jones. “A lot of cities don’t have the level of oversight and maintenance to these systems he’s brought us.”
For Huang, his proudest accomplishments are related to the grant money he has been able to obtain for Redondo Beach. One of his earliest accomplishments was obtaining two million dollars from FEMA to fix Seaside Lagoon after an earthquake in 1994. He was also able to apply for and use $10 million from the County Public Works Department to fix the storm drain problems in North Redondo Beach. His most recent accomplishment was lining up about $8 million in Measure R funds for street improvements, including the addition of bicycle lanes in the city.
“I feel very proud of getting a lot of financial grants for the city to improve our infrastructure,” said Huang. “[I’m also] grateful to the city for…a team effort to establish the waste water fund in 2003. We twice went back to the community to put in more money to take care of [the] waste water sewer problem. [I] appreciate [that the community] realized it’s critical to the health and benefit to the community.”
Huang, a 20-year resident of Fullerton, said he realizes how lucky the people of Redondo Beach are to have such high transparency and efficiency in the city’s government.
“That’s very unusual,” said Huang. “From my 17 years [of] observation it’s just getting better and better.”
For Huang, his job has not been all about city engineering and infrastructure. He has also been an integral part of Redondo Beach’s sister-city relationship with China.
“For many years he has been the leader in helping to organize and make those exchanges both with students and government officials,” said Jones.
Huang has visited the two sister-cities, Xicheng, a district of Beijing City and Zhangjiagang on multiple occasions with city employees and has helped work with the cities as the official interpreter.
“The main purpose is to help serve as a bridge for our citizens and business to have access to the Chinese government,” said Huang. “[I’m] really glad to see the two sister cities relationships established. [It will be a] great asset for the city of Redondo Beach in the future.”
Now, because of Huang’s contributions, the sewer and water systems flow freely and new bicycle paths will soon be available to the citizens. But for Huang, the thing he will miss most about working for the city won’t be the improvements you can see, but instead, the sunny ocean-side weather you can feel.