City of Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira McWaters dies after short illness

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (June 19, 2021) – The City of Oak Ridge is mourning the loss of Public Works Director Shira McWaters.

“Today we have lost a colleague and a friend,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “Our hearts are with Shira’s husband, children and family as we share some small measure of their grief at the loss of this vibrant woman.”

McWaters came to the City of Oak Ridge in March of 2016, taking the helm of the Department which is responsible for much of the City’s essential infrastructure, from streets to drainage to water and wastewater. 

She was a high-energy, involved leader who focused on maintaining the long-term viability of facilities in her charge while protecting and improving the City’s environment. Some of her many accomplishments included establishing a planned program for facility capital investment and leading the charge to make upgrades at the wastewater plant which both reduced costs and improved performance. She also recognized the need to replace the City’s aging water filtration plant and developed strategies to do so with the least financial impact to the water rate payers. 

“Shira will long be remembered for her unique pairing of incredible intelligence, keen insight and problem-solving skills with unending compassion,” Watson said. “Among just a handful of female Public Works directors in the state of Tennessee, she was a pioneer and a one-of-a-kind person who we were honored to have known.”

McWaters died on Saturday, June 19, 2021, after a short illness. She was 60 years old.

Patrick Berge, Public Works Utility Manager, has been appointed Interim Public Works Director while the City evaluates this important leadership position.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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