Topsham hires Millinocket's public works director

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the hiring of Dennis Cox of Millinocket as the town’s public works director.

Cox, 51, has spent the past 11 years as Millinocket’s public works director. He will start in Topsham on April 19.

He replaces Rob Pontau, who left last October to become assistant general manager of the Brunswick Sewer District. Tad Hunter had the job on an interim basis while the town sought a permanent replacement.

A native of upstate New York, Cox earned an engineering degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He moved to Maine and became fabrication shop foreman and engineer at Millinocket & Machine from 1987-1989. He then served as deputy public works director in Millinocket before becoming its solid waste and recycling director in 1992, and then public works director in 2000.

Millinocket’s Public Works Department includes public works, cemetery, solid waste and airport divisions.

Topsham had 14 job applicants and interviewed three, Town Manager Cornell Knight said on Monday.

Knight said Cox “just seems to have a very good personality for working in the public and handling the various public works duties.”

Cox, a director of the Maine Chapter of the American Public Works Association, said on Tuesday that Topsham is “a busy, up-and-coming area … and it’s got a lot to offer. … More people, more challenges; things of that nature.”

He said Topsham and Millinocket have about the same number of road miles, and that they have similarly sized public works staffs.

Cox said he finds working with the public both rewarding and challenging.

“I’d like to come down (to Topsham) and get involved with the community, my wife and I, and make a commitment,” said Cox, whose two grown sons work in New York. “The town has made a commitment to me; I’d like to commit to them, as well. I’m looking forward to it.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.