How long have you been a FCCMA member?
Are you an ICMA member and if so, how long?
Yes, just over 3 years.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Certificate in Public Management from Florida Atlantic University, and a MPA degree and Graduate Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Central Florida.
What got you interested in public service?
Serving in the U.S. Army Rangers instilled in me early as a young adult that service to others is a higher and noble calling. Upon being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, my desire to continue serving led me initially to working on political campaigns. Fortunately, through the guidance of a professor at Florida Atlantic University I made the decision that I would be better able to serve the public and make a difference through a career in public administration.
What is your current occupation?
I was appointed city manager for the City of Cocoa in February 2013, and have worked for the city for close to 15 years.
Please give a brief job description.
As city manager I am responsible for the day to day administrative affairs of the city and providing policy advice and guidance to City Council. In addition to the city providing a full-range of municipal services, the city serves as a regional water provider with the 11th largest potable water system in the state.
Please describe your typical day.
I have yet to find a typical day in city management, each day brings a variety of topics, concerns and issues that require attention and leadership.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The opportunity to make a difference in the community! More specifically, the opportunity to work with City Council, staff and the community to help shape the future of the city that will address critical issues to improve municipal operations, enhance our local economy and provide for opportunities to improve the quality of life for our uniquely diverse community. Central to this is promoting redevelopment and economic revitalization in areas of our city that have suffered from decades of decline and disinvestment and where our most vulnerable, undeserved and disadvantaged residents reside.
What is your least favorite part the job?
Personnel issues and the amount of time they consume to address. Ideally you want employees that hold a high regard for public service and want to make a difference. It can be frustrating dealing with those employees whose motivations are not aligned with the organization, and especially when they fail to be responsible and accountable for their performance or poor decisions.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
I can’t pick any single memorable experience, given the varied initiatives working as community development director and city manager, I think it is more a culmination of experiences. Witnessing the changes in our community and the organization that have occurred over time, and seeing the plans and initiatives that have come to fruition are rewarding and memorable.
What are hobbies/interests?
I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my 4 year old son David and 9 month old daughter Charlotte. I enjoy the outdoors – fishing, hunting, camping or spending time on a nature hike, especially love the Smoky Mountains. I appreciate cities and walking the built urban environment (with camera in hand). Huge fan of college football, stock car racing and major league baseball.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
As you pursue your undergraduate and graduate work, take courses that prepare you and provide you with the basic knowledge and skills to meaningfully contribute to the communities you serve. Don’t take classes just for the sake of attaining your degree. Public service is an honorable and noble profession that comes with a great responsibility, that responsibility starts in your studies.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other young public administrators?
I would better describe me as having a circle of close friends that have provided me guidance and advice during my career. Saying that, and following this past year’s FCCMA conference, developing a mentor-mentee relationship is a goal I’m pursuing. In addition to providing guidance and advice to younger staff members, I get the opportunity at least once a year to present to graduate students at UCF and I always endeavor to share the joys and fulfillment in working in public service and opportunities to make a difference.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
In between the transition of working on political campaigns, and taking some time off from my undergraduate studies, I worked for G4S Secure Solutions, then The Wackenhut Corporation, as an account executive/area supervisor in South Florida.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
I don’t believe I would pick another career. My passion is community redevelopment, brownfields and economic development. If I had to pick another career it would be closely aligned to public service, but possibly from within the non-profit sector or possibly a private firm focused on those same interests.