Alison Ortowski takes over the position of Southlake city manager Feb. 1.

The current assistant city manager will replace Shana Yelverton, who retires after 30 years with the city and 18 years as the city manager, on Jan. 31.

Ortowski was named the lone finalist for the position during an Oct. 17 city council meeting. Ortowski has previously worked for the cities of Gatesville and Denton prior to coming to Southlake in 2007.

She talked about the new position and the future with Community Impact. Answers have been edited for length, style and clarity.

You have been with the city for more than a decade. How much will that experience help you in this new role?

My 16 years with Southlake have equipped me with an in-depth understanding of this distinctive city and a wealth of institutional knowledge. I've been fortunate as assistant city manager to provide comprehensive corporate leadership to all of our city departments and gain experience with all aspects of our municipal operations through that work. This experience, coupled with our incredible city staff and an invaluable, strong partnership with the City Council, will be key in navigating the complex opportunities that come with the role of city manager and contribute effectively to the city's continued progress and success.

What are some things you are looking forward to with your new role?

In my new role, I am eager to work with the council and staff on the initiatives vital to Southlake—infrastructure investments, safety and security, partnerships and volunteerism and high-quality service delivery. Southlake will soon celebrate its 70th anniversary, and as we move into a new phase of the city's lifecycle, I look forward to collaborating with its diverse stakeholders to implement innovative solutions that address the evolving needs of our vibrant city. Organizationally, I'm also focused on ensuring the city remains an employer of choice with a great workplace culture that supports our core values and strong employee engagement. This is so important for our team as we work to create a positive experience for them as members of the organization, and ultimately, it translates into important business outcomes for our residents and customers.

Looking back at your time working with Shana, what are things you learned that will prepare you for this job?

There is so much to say about the opportunity to work with Shana. With every project and every meeting, I gained valuable insights into the unique job of managing a city. What I learned as the assistant city manager is a solid foundation for my new role, ensuring I can lead the team supporting the council's vision of our community. She also taught me the importance of investing in and caring about people, which I consider a primary tenet of what I hope to establish as my leadership contribution to this community and our organization.

What are some big construction projects that the city is looking at in 2024 or 2025?

As part of our five-year Capital Improvement Plan, the city has projects slated all over the city. The investments range from expanding our sidewalk footprint to improving roadways that connect our neighborhoods and exciting park enhancement projects. Another important, major project on the horizon is the replacement of one of the city's original primary water supply lines as well as improvements to critical water infrastructure to support more resilient operations. These projects and many others are designed to ensure we are meeting the goals set out in city comprehensive plans that are crafted to support a future-ready Southlake, with the ultimate goal of sustaining a high quality of life for our residents and businesses.