Knope of the Week: Ben Kittelson, Guilford County, NC

Posted on October 24, 2014

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Can Do Attitude. Focused. Beard Brother. 

Former Willamette University football star and ELGL leader Ben Kittelson (LinkedIn and Twitter) is moving to North Carolina to begin work as a budget analyst in Guilford County. As you read this, he is driving across country with his brother. If we know Ben, he’s probably riding shotgun, wearing his #ELGL14 t-shirt, and drinking protein shakes from the #ELGL14 pint glass.

10630720_10204750547667197_1952058500307366887_oThe Knope of the Week is not reward enough for all that Ben has done for ELGL. He’s helped take ELGL to a new level by introducing new programming such as the ongoing Innovation Series and writing articles on the Whitehorse City Council video and two sisters who are local government reporters at different newspapers.

This morning, we pour out a little of our coffee to honor Ben and to wish him the best in North Carolina.

Word on the Street


Emily Leuning, Cities of Sherwood and West Linn

Ben, come back!!!!!

Stephanie Betteridge, City of Gresham, OR

Congratulations to Ben!  He was great to work with, particularly his ‘can do’ attitude and hunger to learn about what it is like to work in local government.   Ben is the only person I know, who has asked to learn more about contracting and procurement – now that is a dedicated public servant!

Ben conducted a ton of research for our issue reporting system project – calling references, doing best practices research, gathering stakeholder input, and making recommendations. Without his dedication we would not be poised to go live in January.

Ethan Cirmo, City of Portland, OR

10699719_10205102488865507_7816714404467122122_o​In my short time knowing Ben, he has always struck me as an upstanding gentleman with a great sense of humor. He is obviously very competent and hard working, but I think what I appreciate most about him is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously—he keeps things in perspective, which has a calming effect on those around him. This is a personality trait that carries equal weight both in our personal and professional lives, and we would all do well to take his example to heart.

Ashley Graff, City of Gresham, OR

Working with Ben is such a pleasure. He’s a lighthearted guy with a great sense of humor, and at the same time he’s extremely competent. You can always count on high quality work and a lot of laughter. Ben also has much to be proud of in terms of his role in the growth of ELGL. Congrats to you, Ben! Guilford County is lucky to have you.

Patrick Rollens, Village of Oak Park, IL

10487337_637347339684165_1515958032589708079_nBen Kittelson – my beard brother. What else is there to say? He is either the yin or the yang in ELGL (haven’t figured out which) – the calm, moderating voice of reason who has been so instrumental in the organization’s growth over the last few years. And because he’s so young, he can help me figure out how to use hip new phrases like “swagged out” and “Kilroy was here” and “nice Model T Ford you have there, Chester” in conversation. Really, he does it all, and North Carolina will be all the richer for having him within its contiguous boundary.

Kirsten Wyatt, City of West Linn, OR

Ben’s work for ELGL is priceless. That timely post with the latest local government headlines? Ben wrote it. That awesome webinar about innovative local government tools? Ben organized it. We are lucky and blessed that Ben works so hard for the local government community.

Rafael Baptista, UNC MPA Student and ELGL Project Manager

10358568_687668127985419_7870581451965255034_nI have had the privilege of knowing and working with Ben since we were both undergraduates at Willamette University. Then and now, he brings a tremendous amount of passion, cooperation, and unique perspective to any project that he works on. He has done so much work for ELGL helping it grow into one of the premier local government professional organizations in the country. Whenever, I need assistance with logistics for the Southeast chapter I am able to count on Ben to provide me with support and information.  In addition to his logistical work, his columns are both smart and funny. I look forward to readings his columns knowing that I will both learn and laugh.

Kent Wyatt, City of Tigard

10623472_10204539751357007_489308201215643216_oBen is ELGL. I first met Ben at the ELGL forum with the Hillsboro Hops forum. My first impression was he’s a lot bigger than me so I should be nice to him. Ben has gone on to do everything for ELGL. He’s written the Morning Buzz, developed Kittelson’s Corner, and created the Innovation Series.

Just because Ben is in North Carolina doesn’t mean that I’ll stop sending him numerous emails and text messages. Should he ignore them, I will stick my Mom and Dad on him who live in Chapel Hill, NC.

Uncle Ben (as my daughters call him) enjoy the cross-country drive. I hope you find the tape deck in the rental car a good alternative to your vinyl collection. Jackson Browne loves you!

Josh Gregor, City of Portland, OR

Moving to North Carolina!? Noooooooo! I find friends, who are also local government nerds, and they up and leave… In all seriousness, congratulations, Ben. If there was a Knope of the Year award, you’d be first ballot, Mr. Kittelson. The drive and assistance you’ve shown in getting ELGL where it is today is invaluable and it something to take a lot of pride in. You are a bright young mind and have an undeniable future as a leader and a public servant. I wish you the best of luck and hope you find ease in your transition to a new area, culture, and position.

John McCarter, City of Sugar Land, TX

10446696_649101465175419_5098080000227702109_nI’ve had the pleasure of working with Ben through ELGL over the past year. Not only has he proven to be a devoted civil servant but is also dedicated to furthering the field through professional development. He is a leader within our organization and a person I turn to more often than I would like to admit when I need help with anything ELGL-related. The success of our organization is due in large part to Ben’s efforts.

Bridget Doyle, Village of Lombard, IL

Ben has spent hours upon hours working to make ELGL a great organization and this Knope of the Week is very well-deserved. He keeps the organization running with his can-do attitude and sense of humor. He’s a vital part of ELGL and we’re excited he’ll be taking the ELGL mission to the East Coast! Though I’m sure Kent and Kirsten will miss the babysitter/pseudo little brother figure. Congrats, Ben!

Ben McCready, City of Rock Island, IL

1621764_568262949925938_1700567249_nIt’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Ben furthering the mission of ELGL. Ben’s enthusiasm and focus are evident throughout the entirety of his work. Ben truly embodies the core spirit of ELGL and lives it to the fullest every day. Despite the challenges posed by geography, I’ve found that Ben has a unique accumen for communication and teamwork, allowing him to thoughtfully engage the broader ELGL community. The County of Guilford has made an excellent decision in selecting Ben Kittelson to join their team. I’m looking forward to working with Ben as ELGL continues to grow and engage aspiring local government professionals. I have no doubt this is the next step in what will be a fantastic career, I only hope that he find time to maintain his ELGL web presence with insightful posts that relate to the experiences and challenges shared by ELGL members.

Supplemental Reading


PDX to RDU: The Job Search with Ben Kittelson

Guidepost #6 – Ben Kittelson

Byline Ben Kittelson

Government Communication & TriMet’s Winter Weather Response

Rest of the Story: The Portland Blotter War

Reflections on the Fall Quarter

Knope of the Week: Ben Kittelson, ELGL Project Manager

Kittelson’s Corner: My Name Is….

Bruno, Miller and Kittelson Receive Recognition from the National Football Foundation

Section 8 Waitlists Don’t Have to Be a Mile Long: Federal Housing Policy Should Stop Favoring Wealthier Homeowners

Honor code created for the students by the students


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