August 15, 2019

Partner Profile: Mohammed Nuru, Director, San Francisco Public Works

Mohammed Nuru serves as director of San Francisco Public Works, one of the City’s most complex departments, overseeing a staff of 1,600, a $312 million annual operating budget, and a capital project portfolio of $5.6 billion. Since taking a top leadership role at Public Works in 2011, Mohammed Nuru has been responsible for an array of infrastructure projects that contribute to quality of life and community in San Francisco.

Clark is proud of its work with the City, alongside Mr. Nuru and his team, to deliver several of these projects, including the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Facility, Animal Care & Control Facility, and San Francisco Police Department Traffic Company and Forensics Services Division Facility.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Nuru, a 20-year resident of San Francisco, on his role and priorities, the breadth of services provided by Public Works, and what it takes to be a valued partner to the City.

What are some of your top priorities as director?

San Francisco Public Works has a very diverse portfolio and my top priority is to run an organization that delivers quality city services, from engineering and architecture to making sure the civic buildings are well maintained and our shared public spaces are kept clean, green, safe and beautiful.

How does living in San Francisco impact your job as director?

 I see firsthand the challenges and opportunities we face in San Francisco. I shop in local stores, eat in local restaurants, visit the City’s parks and attractions. I drive and walk down the streets. I talk to people every day who are affected by the work we do at Public Works. The relationships I’ve built and nurtured in the community help me do my job better.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Collaborating with businesses, residents and community groups; building a workforce that serves the needs of San Francisco; and knowing that the work my organization does makes a positive difference.

How is your agency working to address the evolving needs of this City and its residents?

We work closely with Mayor London Breed and members of the Board of Supervisors to carry out their priorities and policies to improve and protect San Francisco. Public Works can pivot quickly to meet the changing demands and is committed to getting the job done.

You often partner with private builders/contractors to complete important projects.  What qualities do you look for in a partner?

We look for partners who prioritize safety, believe in quality work, take collaboration to heart and value the public’s trust.

What are some of the exciting projects or initiatives the Department currently has underway in San Francisco?

Thanks to voter support of the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response (ESER) Bond Program, we have been working on important projects to strengthen the City’s resiliency, including work on fire stations, police stations, the new home for Animal Care and Control, a new headquarters for the Police Department’s crime lab and motorcycle officers and the new ambulance deployment facility. I also have a team dedicated to the development of Navigation Centers to give people an alternative to living on the streets, which benefits not only the individuals but the city as a whole.