Appointed last week to head Glendale’s Public Works Department, civil engineering veteran Yazdan “Yaz” Emrani said he is excited to build things rather than just plan them — reflecting his experience as both a consultant and city employee.
“In the consulting world, you can do the design … but, depending on the funding, sometimes it gets built, sometimes it might not. [In the public sector], you have the advantage of working on the budgets and really moving things forward,” said Emrani, who is currently the city of San Fernando’s public works director and city engineer.
On April 22, Emrani will take over the reins from Roubik Golanian, who has been serving a dual role as both the director of public works and assistant city manager.
Golanian “has done that quite well, but it will be nice to have someone take care of the Public Works Department and have their focus on the Public Works Department,” City Manager Yasmin Beers said during a City Council meeting last week, at which council members voted to hire Emrani.
In San Fernando, Emrani oversees a staff of about 38. In Glendale, he will oversee closer to 300 employees.
Emrani said he is looking forward to the increase in scale — and the number of projects and challenges it will bring.
“No two days are going to be the same, and that’s what interests me,” Emrani said.
Launching his civil engineering career more than 30 years ago, Emrani has experience in both the private and public sectors.
After 15 years working for several engineering and consulting firms, Emrani founded his own consulting firm in 2001, where he worked extensively with cities, special districts and municipal agencies.
His experience in government administration began in 2008, when he became the director of public works for Monterey County. For three years, he was responsible for managing and directing a staff of 180 across 10 divisions.
After a stint as an executive of a large consulting firm, Emrani returned to public service with his appointment last January to his current role in San Fernando.
Mayor Zareh Sinanyan told Emrani during the recent meeting that Glendale residents are used to a high level of service.
“The pressure is on you,” said Sinanyan, adding that he is confident Emrani will meet their expectations.
According to Emrani, he’s already mastered the customer service element of the job — there’s no way to survive as a consultant without doing so. And in a public sector position, the residents are the customers, he said.