Member Spotlight

This Member Spotlight blog highlights MMASC members to show the variety of professionals that make up the organization. In just 10 quick questions, you can get to know your fellow MMASC colleagues. Are you interested in filling out a Member Spotlight form? Click here to fill one out.

Sep 16

Member Spotlight with John Keisler

Posted on September 16, 2015 at 11:43 AM by Chris Castruita

Interview with Past MMASC President John Keisler,
Innovation Team Director for the City of Long Beach
Written by Ryan Park

Picture of John Keisler, Past MMASC President and Innovation Team Director for the City of Long Beach What City do you work for, what’s your department, what’s your title, and how long have you been there?

City of Long Beach, City Manager’s Office and Innovation Team Director. I have been with the City for 10 years, but have been in my current role for the past 5 months.  

How has it been getting settled into your role as the Innovation Team Director?

It is very exciting! This is a new initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which establishes a research and development unit for the City.  

As the Director of the Innovation Team, how do you find new ways to solve old problems? How do you facilitate change with the community at large?

What we use is the innovation delivery approach. First, we investigate the problem by going out into the community and talking with the end user. Although investigations take time and require a lot of resources, it is necessary to understand the user’s experience. Next, we generate ideas by developing a sufficient model that address contributing issues. That said, generating ideas requires commitment from staff, support from the executive leadership, and collaboration from the community to truly find and meet the needs of your audience. Finally, we show our process by aligning the resources that lead to our results. This can be done through prototyping, finding outside funding sources, and understanding the value of the design. Overall, the City who really wants to innovate and adjust to the market really needs to take a look at the way the world is changing. Although it’s not what is traditionally done in government, I believe it is necessary.

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Jun 01

Member Spotlight with Troy Brown

Posted on June 1, 2015 at 11:32 PM by Chris Castruita

Interview with Past MMASC President Troy Brown,
City Manager of Tracy
Written by Ryan Park

Picture of Troy Brown, City Manager of Tracy and Former MMASC PresidentWhat city do you work for, how long have you been there, and what’s your title?

I have been the City Manager for the City of Tracy since September of 2014. It has been approximately 8 months since I have been in this role.  

How has it been getting settled into your role as City Manager?

It has been great! For me, the biggest difference is the change in my day-to-day work. Before, I used to manage a variety of projects. Now, I facilitate a lot of conversations and move things forward. I feel fortunate to have the years of experience in local government and believe I am well equipped to serve this community.

What initially got you interested in local government?

I started my career in Southern California as the Recreation Leader for the City of Santa Clarita. I was fortunate to be in a very progressive organization that really enabled me to build my own programs and develop my own services in the Recreation Department. I remember making an impact on 150 people through a family reunion event. It brought me such joy knowing that I was able to make an impact in the community.

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Feb 25

Member Spotlight with Chris Freeland

Posted on February 25, 2015 at 11:29 PM by Chris Castruita

Interview with Past MMASC President Chris Freeland, Assistant City Manager of West Covina
Written by Greg Kwolek

Picture of Chris FreelandWhat city do you work for, how long have you been there, and what's your title?

I've worked for the City of West Covina for over 14 years.  I was originally hired here as a Management Analyst II and moved up the ranks.  Just recently, I was promoted to Assistant City Manager/Community Development Commission Director. Due to some recent vacancies, I am also serving as the Acting Community Services Director (aka Parks and Recreation) and Acting Director of Human Resources.
Sounds like you've got a full plate!  How many hours a week do you put in, and what do you do to unwind?
I work at least 60 hours a week, which also includes attendance at a variety of community events (i.e. Little League Opening Ceremonies, Business Grand Openings, and a variety of civic events).  Local government management can be stressful at times, so it's important to take time and relax outside of work.

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