I remember sitting in a small bus shelter on a cool September morning 26 years ago waiting for a shuttle bus to take me to classes at Wright State University. It was my first day at Wright State, and while I felt well-prepared, I was more than a little bit nervous. I had no idea what this next phase of life had in store for me, but I knew this was an important step.
I was not a great high school student. Honestly, I’d barely pass as a good one. I spent more time working at the local hardware store and wasn’t a big fan of English Literature or Algebra. But, I had done well enough to get into Wright State.
Towards the end of my Freshman year, I was excelling as a student. Perhaps due to the fact that I was writing the checks for tuition, I had a little more incentive to do well. In that Spring quarter, I enrolled in the Urban Affairs program. Of all the majors offered by the college, this was the one that spoke to me the most. It covered topics about how communities are formed and how they grow. I would learn about how communities are led and how they are managed.
I did extremely well in the program. I worked hard and was even taking graduate level classes before I graduated. My hard work paid off, I earned an appointment as a Graduate Research Assistant and was able to work for the university while I was earning a Master of Public Administration degree.
It was in Graduate School, I hit my stride. I was taking classes with individuals that would end up being city managers of places like Vandalia, Beavercreek and Trotwood and other cities across the country. I learned from some of the best professors and fellow classmates and I was honored when I was named the Most Outstanding Graduate Student in the Public Administration program. Most of the time this honor went to an in-service student (someone already in the field), it was rare that this honor went to a student that hadn’t yet been a seasoned professional.
Even after graduation, I would still be an active part of the Wright State community. I would talk to students and give guest lectures. I was extremely appreciative when a few years ago, the university named me one of their outstanding alumni.
The most important values I learned at Wright State was hard work and dedication. I learned the skills necessary to manage and lead communities, but more importantly the seeds of a life dedicated to my community, my hometown were sprouting and growing.
It’s those values of hard work and dedication that I am bringing to this campaign to be the next Mayor of our hometown. I hope you will join me on this campaign that is focused on values, vision and experience.