How long have you been a FCCMA member and why did you join?
The Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA) is a professional organization of practicing public administrators from throughout Florida that offers a wide range of services to its members and the local government community. I joined FCCMA in 2013. I joined FCCMA because I wanted to be a member of, and to get involved in an ethical and forward-thinking professional association that promotes and embraces diversity among its members, provides career development and networking opportunities on multiple levels, and that also supports and promotes the council/commission-manager form of local government structure.
Are you an ICMA member, why did you join, and how long have you been a member?
ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to over 11,000 city, town, and county managers, their staffs, and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. I joined on November 9, 2006 for these reasons. I am also an International City/County Management Association Credentialed Manager (ICMA-CM).
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in public policy analysis from Sojourner Douglass College in Baltimore, Maryland; and a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in urban management from the University of Baltimore. My other professional certification and training includes certificates in Innovations for Economic Development, and Leadership Decision-Making from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. As stated previously, I am an ICMA-CM; a Certified Public Manager (CPM) via Florida State University; and, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
Why did you select a career in public service?
After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1991, I started working as a janitor at the City of Jacksonville Police Department in North Carolina. From there, my career developed primarily through various Planning Departments across multiple states, counties and cities. I’ve found that local governments allow for the type of engagements where you get the feeling of belonging to a greater community, and where you can fully exercise servant leadership while staying connected to a sense of civic purpose and awareness.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
Except for a four-month period of employment with Home Depot in 1997-98, I have served in either the military or local government since leaving high school in 1983. Even while attending college full-time, I worked full-time in local government.
Please tell us about your current position and give a brief job description if you are not a City Administrator/Manager.
I’ve been an Assistant County Administrator (ACA) for Sarasota County since September 2012, and currently oversee the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, Emergency Services, Health and Human Services, Public Utilities, and Public Works departments. My experience as an ACA also includes purview over the departments of Parks Recreation and Natural Resources, Planning and Development Services, Libraries and Historical Resources, Economic Development, Public Transit, and Capital Projects.
Prior to joining Sarasota County, I was Executive Director of Planning and Development in Denton, Texas and the Director of Land Development in Polk County, Florida. I’ve also worked in the planning departments of several counties in Maryland, and the City of Jacksonville, N.C.
I served over eight years in the United States Marine Corps, including a tour during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield before I was honorably discharged in August 1991 at the rank of Sergeant.
Please describe your typical day.
A typical day as an ACA is a combination of responding to the needs and concerns of the public; working in partnership with elected officials and stakeholders, and providing guidance to professional staff in the administration of the county’s policies, programs and services to ensure the safety and welfare of the community.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my career is the interaction with the public in general. It is especially fulling when we can provide solutions to challenging and difficult events when they are brought to the attention of the County.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
The least favorite part of my job relates to surprises that while unplanned, can be very urgent and very important, and oftentimes consume resources that are crucial to the success of other planned and committed events.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
One of my most memorable experience as an ACA with Sarasota County was during the preparedness and event of Hurricane Irma in 2017. I was very impressed with the commitment and dedication of our County staff who sacrificed time away from their families and homes to stay several says in the County EOC.
What are your hobbies/interests?
My interests include family outings, doing yard work (planting fruit trees), and saltwater fishing. I also enjoy reading autobiographies.
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
My advice to people interested in a career in public service is be genuine and have fun serving the public. Don’t ever do anything that would bring disgrace to your parents or children.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other aspiring public administrators?
My mentors were my parents and many other professional leaders and confidants who provided personal as wells as professional development and growth opportunities. In-turn, I derive personal satisfaction in speaking with young professional in assisting them along their educational and/or career path. FCCMA and the American Planning Association have provided ample opportunities for me to engage with emerging leaders to exchange ideas, inspire, encourage and empower them to develop visions for their lives (personal and professional), and to implement measurable steps towards achieving them.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
If I would pick another career, I guess it would be a college professor.
Do you have a story you can share about how being a member of FCCMA has helped you or impacted you in a positive way?
FCCMA offers countless opportunities to take an active role in serving our profess. The training and development opportunities via the Annual Conferences, Winter Institute, Fall Symposium, district trainings and monthly webinars in conjunction with the lasting professional relationships I’ve made via this Association have contributed greatly to my success as Assistant County Administrator, as well as my personal growth. Though these events, I’ve been exposed to many role professional models and mentors. Of equal value are the emerging leaders I’ve met, some of which I was able to provide some level of mentorship, and encouragement. The Association continues to provide me with many opportunities to serve on committees and to inspire and motivate the next generation of public service leaders and managers. The lasting impressions and the resources that this organization has afforded me, and my associates are priceless. I derive a special level of satisfaction of welcoming new and returning members to the Association.