ELGL is proud to welcome a new member to our team – Ryan Adams from the City of Irving, Texas. Ryan will work with John McCarter from Sugarland, Texas to create interesting and meaningful ELGL events and content for our members in the Lone Star state (and friendly neighbors). Here’s some background on Ryan so you can get to know him better!
Hello ELGL. I’m slightly apprehensive in writing about myself to a lot of people I have never met, but happy for the opportunity nevertheless. I’m currently the Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Irving, TX and have been in this position for less than a year. Compared to a few of you I’m fairly new to local government, and in taking a slightly different path to the profession and my position, I look forward to sitting at the ELGL table and working to get the Southwest Chapter off the ground.
Probably like a lot of us, I left high school not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. After bouncing through a couple of majors I received a degree in Kinesiology and started a career in injury rehabilitation. Don’t get me wrong, I could rehab you from head to toe with the best of them, but after a few years of watching my love for the health industry wane I needed a second start with a profession I had a passion for. I bought a thick, overpriced book that listed every college major you could wish for and read it cover to cover. Somehow I kept coming back to the page that described public administration and careers in local government. I was drawn to local government because I wanted a career that was challenging, dynamic, relationship-based, and (this is key here) not going to bore me to tears. Three years later I had an MPA from a great school and a new chapter.
Local Government Experience
During my MPA studies I was very fortunate to be chosen by the City of Southlake, TX to join their team as a management intern in the CMO. Southlake has a fantastic management team that supports their interns through an array of independent projects. To them I must have looked like a baby deer taking its first steps, but they coached me and let me try my hand at ethics policies, cost analyses, strategic planning, and performance measurement. I will say this, the most important lesson I learned Southlake is that if you want to rapidly learn how a city works – start answering phone calls from citizens. You’ll be forced to learn who does what, when, why and how.
When I was near graduation, I had the opportunity to join the Performance Team of the City of Irving, TX as an analyst working on process improvement projects, strategic planning and performance measuring. You may have seen the Performance Team’s recent ELGL webinar. I was so thrilled to be working on projects for which I had a passion that when an opportunity came to join the City Manager’s Office I almost didn’t take it. I took a weekend to think it over and determined that I shouldn’t shy away from the challenge of different responsibilities and a steep learning curve. It was a blessing disguised as a roller coaster. Almost a year later I’ve experienced two City Manager transitions, a reorganization, a mountain of complex projects, and the opportunity to learn from talented (and patient!) directors and managers. I call Irving a goldilocks city – its big enough to do everything a city can do, but small enough to allow individuals to experience that array of services and projects first hand.
I’ll be working with John McCarter of Sugarland, TX and the SW advisory board in growing our chapter. I think we’re all with ELGL because we love to meet people, hear the creative projects they’re working on, continually learn, and share successes. While our profession is rewarding, the job can be difficult too. Maybe we’re also here because we need affirmations, sounding boards, and someone to reassure when doubt sets in. I hope I we all can help each other find what we’re looking for.