ELGL’s mission is to connect, communicate, and educate. In this ongoing series, ELGL members tell their story including how they got into local government.
Darwin Wade (LinkedIn) is a Neighborhood Services Specialist at the City of Grand Prairie, TX. He is responsible for provide consulting, training and other technical assistance to NeighborWorks America. Darwin was named employee of the month in April 2013 for organizing the 4-Gov and 4-Home programs, which have taken nearly 100 homes off of the foreclosure rolls.
My most frustrating experience in local government was… dealing with the small things that can get real political and navigating the process of being politically savvy yet remaining apolitical.
My top three career accomplishments are:
- Authored a White Paper for Mr. Tom Hart, City Manager on “Implementing on Maker Space at The EPIC.” The EPIC is a $75 million ¼ sales tax project approved by voters. This new idea for the design of a Maker Space at The EPIC with HKS, Inc. Architectural firm, Parks, Arts and Recreation Director and Parks Planning Manager will result in a spacious Maker Space for Grand Prairie students and citizens to be included as part of the 120,000-square-foot life center.
- Served as Event Manager/Coordinator for the city’s Annual Homeownership Fair resulting in 750 attendees, 150 housing industry professionals from across the region and state, 51 vendors and resulting in $30,000 in sponsorships year to date.
- Selected by my Director and approved by the City Manager to serve on the city-wide Diversity and Inclusion Committee to proposed recommendations to the City Manager’s office on diversity and inclusion related issues resulting in the new iValue culture, short and long-term strategic goals and on-going training curriculum for all city employees.
When no one else is in the car…I talk to myself. I rehearse presentations and any tough conversations I must have with anyone to gather my thoughts.
I aspire to…become a visionary local government leader. I would like to ultimately become a city manager at a World Class city delivering World Class service to its citizens, employees and businesses.
Right now, I am working on… multiple projects including training staff on a new web-based software grant management system, reallocating Community Development Block Grant funds and HOME funds for council approval and planning a strategic focus group with key stakeholders such as realtors, lenders, counseling agencies and HUD officials for our Annual Homeownership Fair.
Here are three tips for interviewing:
- Gather as much intel as you can on your prospective employer, the interviewer panel members and any recent news stories or big projects. This information will be useful during your first interview and any subsequent ones.
- Be prepared and anticipate questions on any weak areas as it relates to your experience, skills or abilities. Think of ways to shore up those areas of weaknesses.
- Anticipate the behavioral questions and scenarios while showcasing your accomplishments.
In terms of telling the local government story, I think local government…is the closest to the citizens in which it serves. Decisions made at the local level can have a greater impact on the community. I believe it is easier to effect change at the local level and to engage the community behind an initiative or a project.
If I could start a non-profit to assist local government, I would focus on…efficiency, customer service, enhancing technologies, automation, online community engagement tools and transparency.
For the next person that you interview, I would ask…What’s your passion?
You should have asked me… What motivates me?
- Herb Booth: Grand Prairie programs help residents find homes
- GP Offering $20K Grants to Assist in Purchase of Foreclosed Properties
- Grand Prairie Housing and Neighborhood Services Offers 4HOME Grants
My Story Archives
- Cassie Tucker, City of Southlake, TX
- Jim Healy, Village of Richfield, WI
- Matt Monedero, City of Garland, TX
- Justin Tramble, State Bar of Georgia
- Aimee Kane, City of Boulder, CO
- Jessica Beise, City of Victoria, MN
- Emily Vincent, City of Olathe, KS
- Toy Beeninga, City of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Heidi York, Person County (NC) Manager
- Barack Matite, City of Eudora, KS
- Cathy Wilson, Town of Carrboro, NC
- India Adams, Albemarle County, VA
- Derek Matheson, Kent (WA) Chief Administrative Officer