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Public Utilities Director Shawn Pennell
courtesy of Sarah Killian, City of Hickory Communications Specialist

Hickory Public Utilities Director to Retire

The City of Hickory has announced that Public Utilities Director Shawn Pennell will officially retire on May 31 after 30 years of service to the community.

Mr. Pennell started working for the City of Hickory Public Services Department in June 1994, making traffic signs and markers before transitioning to electrical and maintenance work. He then moved to Public Utilities, serving as Collections Manager for over a decade. He was promoted to Environmental Manager and then to Assistant Public Services Director overseeing Public Utilities in July 2017. Mr. Pennell became Public Utilities Director in November 2020.

As part of the city’s bond program, Mr. Pennell served as the project manager for the Riverwalk segment of the Hickory Trail and for Trivium Corporate Center, a business park developed by the City of Hickory and Catawba County. He was also instrumental in designing the water and sewer infrastructure needed for Microsoft’s $1-billion investment toward four data centers in Catawba County. Under Mr. Pennell’s leadership, the City of Hickory has earned numerous water quality awards from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

In his retirement, Mr. Pennell plans to spend more time with his wife, Andrea, and their three girls, Teagan, Reid, and Oriana.