Describe your current position and what led to your job.
My current position is City Manager of Newark, DE. I have had a 30 year career in City Management in Texas, North Carolina, and now Delaware. I have progressed from positions as Administrative Assistant to the City Manager and Assistant City Manager to positions of Town or City Manager. The cities in which I have worked have ranged in size from 10,000 people to 900,000 people.
What has been the most rewarding/challenging moment in your career?
The most rewarding moment of my career has been to build a well functioning team that delivers quality services to our residents.
What is the best career advice you have received?
The best career advice I have ever received is to be myself and never “burn any bridges” because you never know when you will have to walk across them to take an important step in your life.
What would you recommend to someone interested in working in your field?
The best career advice that I can give is to recommend that someone considering public service as a profession should consider their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes before choosing a career. There are many different career paths in public service and they all have unique attributes. In local government, for example, you are much closer to your customers and as such can be subjected to much more personal interactions. In state and federal government, you are further removed from the average citizen and you deal with a specialized subset of customers.
Know yourself first and then spend time talking to practitioners in a field in which you have an interest. Find out what they like and dislike about their careers. See if that matches your own interests before you decide on pursuing that career path.
What skills are necessary or what prepared you the most for your career?
If you want to work in City Management, attend local city council meetings and advisory board meetings. That will give you a taste of what this profession is all about. Also talk with city managers in various cities to gain their prospective on the profession.
The best preparation that I had for my career was my undergraduate degree in psychology particularly my study of organizational psychology. In addition, my volunteer work in various endeavors helped give me insight on working with people.
What professional associations have aided in your professional development?
The best professional association has been the International City/County Management Association.
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