California: Brian Angus, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Chief Executive Officer

Posted on August 14, 2013

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Fifty Nifty Takeaways

What do we hope to learn from this series? We hope you will gain a better understanding of the unique characteristics of local government in each state, we hope you will learn that there are others like you who are motivated to make a difference through the public sector, and we hope you will learn that it is best to learn from other’s mistakes than yours.

Our Take on California

im_going_back_to_cali_mousepad-p144566851836712742envq7_400So many good songs about California (Californication, Going Back to Cali, California Love) that it is tough to focus on the task at the hand, the Fifty Nifty. However, we journey on like any dedicated public sector bureaucrat. We stuck our foot into California with our feature with soon-to-be California resident, Julie Underwood. Now we belly-flop right into California with our profile of Brian Angus, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Chief Executive Officer.

California, in our minds, is known for O.J Simpson, IOUs, the Governator, City of Bell, and rappers.  We also think of California as the state of innovation with Silicon Valley, a state of fine wines coming from the Napa Valley, and a state that is the birthplace of many of our favorite television shows – Beverly Hills 90210, Saved by the Bell, Bachelor and Bachelorette, and the Jetson (o.k – we made up the last one.)

We hope next time the Fifty Nifty visits California that we’ll be able to travel via Hyperloop but until then we journey on in our flip-flops to uncover the most interesting laws from cities across California.

  • Alhambra: You cannot leave your car on the street overnight without the proper permit.
  • Arcadia: Peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways.
  • Baldwin Park: Nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
  • Chico: One must obtain a permit from the city to throw hay in a cesspool.
  • Fresno: No one may annoy a lizard in a city park.
  • Long Beach: Cars are the only item allowed in a garage.
  • Pasadena: It is illegal for a secretary to be alone in a room with her boss.
  • San Diego: It is illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar.
  • San Luis Obispo: Using a gas-powered blower at a business on Sunday is prohibited.


Brian Angus

Current Position: Chief Executive Officer-Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission

Experience: Chief Executive Officer, AAC Economic Opportunity Committee, Inc; Executive Director, Northern Kentucky Community Action; Program Director, Montachusett Opportunity Council; and Community Organizer, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)

Education: Fitchburg State College, 1971 – 1976; Northern Essex Community College, 1969 – 1970


2004 Award for Excellence in Public Health Presented by Kentucky Cabinet on Health and Families; 2000 Man of the Year presented by Hmong / Leo Foundation of North Central Massachusetts; 1994/1995 City of Fitchburg designated an All American City Finalist presented by National Civic League – Chair City Committe; 1984 Community Heart Award presented by Leominster Spanish American Center; 1981 Gubernatorial Citation for Excellence in Energy Programming Presented by Massachusetts Governor Edward King ; 1979 Presidential Citation for Innovations in Energy Conservation Presented by President Jimmy Carter

Connect: LinkedIn

Background Check on Fresno EOC

Fresno EOC LogoWhen Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the goal was to obtain equality of opportunity in education, employment, health and living conditions for every American in our country. To realize this goal, nearly 900 locally-based Community Action Agencies were established throughout the nation; Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, known as Fresno EOC, is one of these agencies. We are widely recognized and are one of the largest nonprofit Community Action Agencies in the United States.

Founded in 1965, Fresno EOC has spent over four decades investing in people, helping them become self-sufficient. The scope of service provided by our Agency consists of almost all facets of human services and economic development.  They range from pre-school education to vocational training; from juvenile and drug abuse counseling to treatment for serious juvenile offenders; from youth recreation to senior citizen hot meal services; from energy conservation education to crisis intervention; from preventive health care to prenatal nutrition education; and from vocational counseling to job placement services.

Fresno EOC is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation governed by a twenty-four (24) member tripartite Board of Commissioners under the auspices of the EOA of 1964.  Eight of those twenty-four members are public elected officials or their designee; eight members are from the business sector, public agencies, and community groups; the remaining eight members are elected low-income target area representatives from throughout Fresno County.

Fresno EOC is considered the largest Community Action Agency in the country. We employ over 1,300 full and part-time staff members committed to transforming lives. With over 30 programs to serve the community, we bridge gaps with almost every aspect of the underserved population.

Connect with Fresno EOC: Facebook, Twitterthe World Wide Web

Donate to Fresno EOC: Web

Background Check on Brian

Brian has dedicated his 38 year professional career to Community Action. Before coming to the Fresno EOC, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Anne Arundel Economic Opportunity Committee in Annapolis, Maryland. Brian brings to EOC a successful track record of building and leading nationally recognized coalitions as well as the passion and drive to empowering the low-income and disenfranchised.

Brian’s Description of His Leadership Style

Energetic leader with extensive experience in human resources, financial administration, planning and program development. Excels in identifying infrastructure weaknesses and restructuring systems building more efficient and effective organizations. An executive who motivates personnel to contribute to agency growth, development and success. Demonstrated success in facilitating community collaborative problem solving processes.

Often referred to as a visionary, I prefer to call myself a futurist. A visionary sees the future and prepares for it. A futurist stands in the future and pulls the world towards them.

Think differently

1. Stop saving the world: start reinventing it. Shift the focus from charity: take risks, invest in social innovation and entrepreneurial ideas and energy can change the world.

download2. Give it everything you’ve got. If you’ve got it, use it – process, services, people, partners, communications, investment funds, contacts and clout: use all your assets to deliver social and economic impact.

3. Embrace unlikely marriages, join forces with government, business and the human development sector to deliver new business models for health, education and social enterprise.

4. Valuing and harnessing nature’s wonderful assets is the biggest entrepreneurial opportunity of our lifetime.

5. Technology gives us the power to see and solve problems across the street and across world. We can and must help grow leadership forces that know no boundaries and whose only agenda is that of humanity.

6. Community power. The power of individuals is great but the abundant power of communities is even greater.


Personal: integrity/ethics, vision, analytic intelligence, decision making, able to simplify, creative, innovative, communicator, energy, takes unqualified responsibility, a motivator, manager and leader

Professional: results oriented, strategic planning, articulates and champions a vision, team builder, establishes a culture for excellence, motivator, problem solving, encourages continuous learning at all levels, reinforces strengths of leadership team, community relations

Lighting Round

Best piece of advice from your parents.

Father was a baseball guy, often quotes Babe Ruth “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from your dreams”

In a dream world, which bands would headline your retirement party. The-Zach-Brown-Band-Marcus-Amphitheatre

I have actually thought about this, but more along the lines of who plays on the desert island after I win the bid lottery:

Stage 1: Crossover concert with Pink and Gretchen Wilson

Stage 2: Zac Brown

And Uncle Kracker get to attend, and can spontaneously sing “Smile” whenever he gets the chance.

(Complete the sentence) Before I die I want to…….Change the world.

0023d210_mediumThree most influential books in your life.

  • Leading Change by John Kotter
  • Drive by Dan Pink
  • Abundance by Peter Diamandis

If you could FaceTime with five people (dead or alive and not including family members), who would be on the list?

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Cesar Chavez
  • Martin Luther King
  • Harry Chapin
  • Ted Williams

Describe the inside of your car: Non-descript

What’s the meaning of life?

One’s life is meant to do good, raise happy healthy and successful children, to be passionate about all things that matter.

Q & A with Brian

Give us three bullet points that best describe local government in FRESNO, California.


  • Financially challenged
  • Outdated regulation that delay and obstruct progress

We’ll assume you didn’t grow up dreaming about a career in local government. What was your dream job as a 12-year old? What was your first local government job? How did you end up in local government?

imagesAs with every 12 year old from Massachusetts, I dreamed of playing for the Red Sox, in my dream it was Second Base

Joined Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), because College bored me and I wanted to make a difference.  Upon entering VISTA I was assigned to a Community Action Agency in Fitchburg, Mass., 30 years later I realized it was a pretty satisfying career.  Like many, the career seemed to choose me and not vice versa.

Give us your top three career accomplishments.

About Us banner

  • Managed the very first Community Based Conservation program, Fundamental Action to Conserve Energy (FACE), which is the genesis of current Utility Demand Side Management programs.
  • Currently lead one of the largest Community Action Agencies in the country, and leader in Social Enterprise.

images (1)We often learn from our mistakes. Name one or two career mistakes that you have made that you think we could learn from.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again to few to mention.”  Frank Sinatra

Our experience has been many of our friends, family, and neighbors are not well versed in what it is we do in local government, many think we are a “planner” or “mayor”. Has this been your experience? How can local governments better communicate their role in the everyday lives of the community?

It is an age old problem, people do not know what we do, so they think we can solve any and every issue that comes their way.  Rather than try and communicate our role better, we should work towards greater effectiveness and efficiency, and let that lead the way toward better appreciation, if not understanding, of what we do.

Would you encourage your family and friends to consider a career in local government?download (1)

Absolutely, actually I have a son who works for the school department in Fort Lee, NJ and a daughter employed by the University of New Mexico.

Hypothetically, if we find ourselves interviewing for a job in front of you, talk about three steps we can take to make a good impress.

When hiring, I am impressed with accomplishments far more than experience.  Rather than reviewing your resume, when interviewing, tell me what you have done, what have been the results / outcomes of your efforts, how you have made you community a better place to be.

Mentoring is such an important part of local government. Name three of your mentors.

  • Ed Kepler, who recognized my skill set, and convinced me to take the pathway into a career in Community Action.
  • Joe Dee, who told me to always do the right thing, and never accept no from a bureaucracy or legislative body.
  • Ted Angus, my Brother, who taught me to always appreciate life.

(Complete the sentence) In 2018, local government will be …………Walking back from the financial cliff.

What question(s) should we have asked you?

Not sure of the question, but the answer is:jimmy-buffett-banana-wind-lyrics-707d

“I got a school boy heart, a novelist eye

Stout sailor’s legs and a license to fly

I came with nomad feet and some wandering toes

That walk up my long board and hang off the nose

I suppose

The need to focus never arose

So something like a Swiss army knife

That’s my life”

Supplemental Reading

Fifty Nifty Profiles

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