FARMINGTON — Farmington's new Public Works director said he looks forward trying to solve some of the city's long-term problems, such as Main Street traffic and storm drains that overflow and wash out during monsoon season.

"Really, at this point in my career, I look forward to those challenges," said David Sypher, who began work Dec. 27.

Sypher was previously a public works director in Kelso, Wash., for about 10 years. He has more than 20 years of experience in the department, though, and he earned a master's degree in engineering management from Brigham Young University in 1985, according to his resume.

Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes said Sypher's experience and degree are among the reasons he hired him.

According to his resume, Sypher has 14 years of experience as a city engineer in Chelan, Wash., Sweet Home, Ore., and Astoria, Ore. In Kelso, he managed the construction of a new $5 million city hall, and in Chelan he managed a $17 million annual budget. He also built another city hall building for $800,000 when it was budgeted for $2 to $3 million.

Mayes said he conducted a national search to fill the position that opened in July, and the city received 20 applications. Sypher and two other candidates from Glendale, Ariz., and San Antonio, Texas, interviewed in Farmington on Oct. 31.

Mayes and three panels vetted the candidates. The panels included city department heads, Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell and local public works experts, Mayes said.

In early November, Mayes offered Sypher the job.

"I hired him because I felt he met the qualifications of the job and felt he would be the best fit for the team," Mayes said.

Sypher earns $123,500 annually, Mayes said.

City Employee Jeff Smaka was the previous Public Works director, but during that time he also served as the Water and Wastewater Administrator. Smaka is now only the Water and Wastewater Administrator.

Last summer, Mayes and Smaka decided the two roles were too much responsibility for one person, Mayes said.

"We determined that we would split those two positions," he said, "and Jeff elected to stay with his first love, Water and Wastewater Administrator."

David Sypher is married to Kristi Sypher, and they have six children. The couple plan to look for a house this weekend and hope to move into it next month.

David Sypher said he enjoys woodworking, family events, BYU football and soccer and shooting guns. He chose to live in Farmington because he wanted to live in the desert and to be located close to the foothills of the Rocky Mountain, he said, He also enjoys the region's sunlight.

"Farmington is a real clean, bright town," he said. "I'm used to winter time being gray and rainy. It was like coming into a tunnel of light."

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.