ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury Department of Works Director Richard Blood was recently named the winner of an annual award that recognizes “long term service to the public works industry.”

Blood, who’s served as Roxbury’s public works chief since March of 2002, won the Superintendent/Director Award from the New Jersey chapter of the American Public Works Association. He was congratulated by township officials at a recent meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council.

Roxbury Township Counsel Anthony Bucco, who is also a state Assemblyman, had particularly kind words for Blood, who worked for Washington Township before taking the Roxbury post.

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“When the township manager, many years, ago told me that they were getting a new DPW guy and his name was Rick Blood, I was really excited about it because I knew Rick … in his past job and I knew how hard he worked and what a great job he did in that municipality,” Bucco said. “I knew that when he came here that he would bring the same work ethic and skills to Roxbury.“

Building Stuff Beats Breakfast With Santa

Blood said he wasn’t particularly happy with his job in Long Valley because the township promoted him from a DPW supervisory post into the role of township recreation director. Blood has a background in construction - including utility work, golf course creation and offshore oil rig crane operation - and he wasn’t enjoying some of the desk-job aspects of the recreation post, he said. “The recreation side was a lot of programming events, like Breakfast with Santa and senior trips to Atlantic City,” he recalled.

His decision to accept the DPW job in Roxbury was sealed when former Roxbury Township Manager Chris Raths showed him land on Dell Avenue where the township wanted to build a new public works headquarters. “Construction of the public works facility was what drew me to Roxbury,” Blood said. “Chris Raths took me to this empty lot and said, `If you take the job you can build a new facility here.’ Eight years later (in 2012) we built it.”

Raths said another municipal project that makes him proud is the Landing Park softball field, which opened in 2015. He’s also pleased about the progress he’s made in accelerating the township’s road paving process.

“Within the last five years, the township went from spending a half-million dollars per year on road paving to almost $1.5 million,” Blood said. “The road paving has gone from two miles or less per year to now approaching seven miles per year.”

Roxbury has 114 miles of municipal roadways. When Blood became DPW director, the roads were being resurfaced every 38 years. Now, he said, the roads are on a 22-year re-paving rotation.

“A lot of the township roads were improved around the same period - the mid-1980s to early 1990s,” Blood said. “Now it’s time for all those roads to be resurfaced again. The township administration has put a priority on road resurfacing. It will take a few years, but we’re making  good progress.”

Bucco said Blood “always seems to be able to get ahead of the curve in his job, which means the township is ahead of the curve, and he’s always able to do that when the state decides to change the curve.”