How long have you been a FCCMA member? Since 2015
Are you an ICMA member? Yes
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education. I have a BS in Aviation Management from Florida Tech in Melbourne, a Master’s in Public Administration from The Undefeated National Football Champion-the University of Central Florida, and along the way I’ve earned designations as a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Government Finance Officer.
What got you interested in public service? I’m the son of a Chicago newspaper editor and an outspoken political activist. I had no choice but to be informed and have an opinion. I have followed local politics since I was a kid sitting under the table and pulling on pantlegs at whatever local joint my parents and their friends were holding court each day. I jumped into it myself when I ran for my local city council in 2007. I won, served for three years, and have been involved directly with local government in almost every way imaginable for the last decade.
What is your current occupation? I have been the CFO for the Brevard County Property Appraiser since January 2013.
Please give a brief job description. I am responsible for the finance function, including budget, daily ledger maintenance (aka paying bills) and financial reporting, as well as for supporting our 100-person organization with the tools they need to do their jobs, including human resources, procurement, facilities, fleet, and general logistics.
Please describe your typical day. We are a small support shop for a 100-person organization. We have two-and-half staff including me so, while there is a daily grind between all of the functions that is far too dull to recount here, it’s the one-off project or pop-up email, phone call or walk-in that ends up consuming my day. We get our fair share of those, particularly in HR.
What is your favorite part of the job? The unforeseeable.
What is your least favorite part of the job? The foreseeable.
What is your most memorable experience on the job? When I started in 2013, it was my boss’ first day as well, after she had beaten her old boss for the job. As a parting gift, the outgoing administration had piled every single admin file—from HR to random property exemptions to vendor contracts—in a single 6’ pile in one office. We had to make payroll in 48 hours with no clue and figure out how to do everything on my end with zero transition. It was a long several months, but we whipped it into shape with countless improvements along the way—and yes, we made payroll on time that first week, much to everyone’s surprise!
What are hobbies/interests? I read, a lot. I mean bunches. My first love is aviation/aerospace, and I still read Aviation Week alongside news and government, and finance journals. I’m also enjoying my teenage kids before they run off to college.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people interested in a career in public service, what would it be? Think long term, but appreciate the reality of the moment. Every challenge I take on, I want to fix it tomorrow, so it’s a whirlwind of effort with a lot of laughter, panic, and tears involved. My hardest lesson was to not give up the long view, but to pace myself so that the people around me can see what I see and adapt to it before we take the next step together. Always be aggressive, but try to avoid being aggressive alone!
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other young public administrators? Many of the Space Coast’s managers, past and present, have been my mentors. When I was a zealous incoming city councilman, the infamous (notorious?) Lee Feldman was our manager, and he imparted a lot of wisdom to me… some of which I even listened to. There are many great public managers and leaders that have been unbelievably generous with their time and wisdom, both solicited and unasked. I can only try to find moments when the nuggets that have been passed to me can be useful to someone else and pay them forward—unasked, as often as possible.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector? I’ve worked both public and private, as employee and entrepreneur. I love the variety of work I’ve done and the people I’ve shared it with.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another? I am obligated to say I really want to be an astronaut, but I also think I’d make an excellent bartender. Take a seat and tell me what you think.