Fargo City Engineer Mark Bittner Retires After 42 Years
He led the city through some of the worst floods in 1997 and 2009
FARGO, N.D. — Fargo’s Director of Engineering is retiring after leaving a lasting impact on how the city handles flooding.
The city of Fargo had a retirement party for Mark Bittner to celebrate the 42 years he’s served with them.
“I can’t thank them enough for all the support they’ve shown me over the years,” Bittner said.
Bittner, who has dealt with Parkinson’s disease for many years, led the city of Fargo through some of the worst floods in 1997 and 2009.
One of his teachers says he always persevered.
“He was always a bright kid. Never gave up on anything. Did whatever you told him. No trouble with Mark. He was a good one. I knew he’d go on and be something big because he just did so well in school,” Jack Fuller, who taught Bittner in high school, said.
Bittner has worked constantly to try to flood–proof the city. Leaders say people would look to him for reassurance.
“It was so nice to have Mark there because he would reassure the public it would be okay. He would look for compassionate ways of handling things. A lot of the times the public would say, ‘what would Mark Bittner say?’ And that often would help us get through those times,” Mayor Tim Mahoney said.
Colleagues say Bittner is a humble person and a hard worker who always made sure the needs of others are met.
“He was there for us. He was designing, he knew where everybody was, and what we were all doing. He cared— ‘were you getting enough sleep? Are you eating? What’s going on in your area?’ He was all hands-on anytime day or night, his light was on, he was here. ’97 flood. I don’t think he went home for days. Literally had to force him to go home. ’09 flood the same way,” Dan Eberhardt, special assessment coordinator for the city, said.
Those in the city’s engineering department say he’s taught them well to deal with the next challenge.
Bittner has played a big role in the F–M Diversion and hopes to see it through to until it’s completed.