Movin’ on up: Westfield’s new chief of staff reflects on rise through city ranks

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When Jeremy Lollar began working for the City of Westfield as a street laborer in 2005, he never expected to eventually be the city’s chief of staff. He began that role in March.

However, Lollar’s unique history with the city — encompassing everything from street work to the city’s utility sale in 2014 — have well-prepared him for the responsibilities that come with his new position, such as assisting with the request for proposals process for a potential sale of Grand Park.

Lollar said that when he joined the then-town’s staff in 2005, his goal was to get his foot in the door in the utility industry.

“Westfield at the time was very much a utility-centric organization,” said Lollar, a Lebanon resident. “The city owned the water and wastewater utilities, and it was the primary revenue source, and subsequently (it became) the primary focus of the public works department.”

Six months after he became a street laborer, Lollar was promoted to service technician.

“It was a good step forward, again to get into the primary business unit of the public works department, which was the utility,” Lollar said.

During the next several years, Lollar was promoted to water treatment plant operation, then to water supervisor and then to utility superintendent. In that role, he participated in the utility sale in 2014, when the City of Westfield sold its water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy Group for approximately $40 million.

“That is the position I remained in up until and through the utility sale,” Lollar said. “With the utility sale transaction, I oversaw the hand-off of the operations for both water and wastewater.”

Lollar was then the assistant director of public works when then-director of public works Ken Alexander was heavily involved in launching Grand Park. Lollar completed his business degree from Indiana Wesleyan University while he was the assistant director.

“Our business model was changing,” Lollar said. “Our utility went away, and we had a new economic driver with Grand Park getting off the ground.”

When Alexander became director of Grand Park, Mayor Andy Cook appointed Lollar as director of public works. He remained in that position from 2015 until March of this year, when he was appointed chief of staff.

Lollar did take a brief hiatus from working for the city in 2018.

“In 2018, I was offered and accepted a position at a private company as director of land development for Pulte,” Lollar said.

Lollar stayed in that position for five months until Cook asked if he would be interested in returning to his former position. Lollar accepted.

“I had never dreamed I would be here this long,” Lollar said. “I envisioned coming here and working for a decade and finding advancement opportunities elsewhere. I was fortunate that from the time I started, there’s always been a door opening for me. I think this is the last one.”

Lollar said he’s approaching the Grand Park RFP process as a learning opportunity.

“I’m the overseer of it, but it’s also an opportunity for the city to create what could be our next ‘utility sale’ for a proceeds perspective,” Lollar said. “My passion has always been making Westfield a better place and as good as it can be, whether it was through quality drinking water and reliable service or great customer service or improving our transportation network and parks system and trail networks

“All of those things make a positive impact on the people that live here and people visiting here and people moving here.”

Lollar lives in Lebanon with his wife, Jessica, and their two teenage daughters. In his spare time, said he enjoys attending his daughters’ sporting events, playing golf and spending time at a lake cabin in Greencastle.

Jeremy Lollar, left, works with new Director of Public Works Johnathon Nail.

Meet the new director of public works

Johnathon Nail started his career with the City of Westfield as city engineer in 2018. His first day was Jeremy Lollar’s last day as public works director prior to Lollar leaving for five months to work for Pulte Homes.

Now, they will work together even more as Nail was appointed to Lollar’s former position of public works director.

Nail said the promotion wasn’t expected, and he was surprised to hear of former chief of staff Todd Burtron’s retirement earlier this year. However, his said his experience as city engineer will be beneficial in his new position.

“The city engineer position is working more closely with that director (of public works) on budgeting, especially because the city engineer is responsible for some of these large-scale construction projects we do in the city,” Nail said. “I think that role is a more natural fit to move into director. Jeremy has done such a great job in the director position already. I certainly was happy to take on the challenge and do whatever I can to help the city as a whole.

“A lot of people in the city are really happy with Jeremy and the job he’s done. I am looking forward to continuing down that path and the growth path we have in Westfield.”


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