Profiles in Power highlights public officials nationwide who are improving their communities through their dedication, enthusiasm, creativity and experience.
This week’s profile is Dean Huard, city manager of the Village of The Hills, Texas.
Public career highlights and education: I began my education at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Oregon, where I learned first-hand how to make a difference in a small community. As a “big fish” in a “small pond” I was able to serve as Student Government president and interned for the local Congressman. I later transferred to the University of Oregon, where I majored in political science and minored in planning, public policy and management. Simultaneously, I received my commission as an Army Logistics Officer and recently retired after 34 years of combined National Guard, Reserves and Active Duty. After my Army career, I wanted to continue to serve and was lucky to have found the rewards of a local government career as a city manager.
What I like best about public service: As Teddy Roosevelt alluded to in his famous “In the Arena” quote, I like being a part of the solution to local problems sets. For years, I was a part of strategic planning that assisted the country in contingency operations such as combat tours in Iraq, Kuwait and the Afghanistan refugee operation, which had tremendous international implications. Now it is just as exciting to help cities become better communities by ensuring residents have clean water, better parks and a strong economic development base of industry.
The best advice I’ve received: On one of our deployments, our general would say to us, “be able to work outside your comfort zone.” We don’t grow professionally if we aren’t willing to accept that it’s OK to not be good or proficient at everything. We should want to learn new skills that will make us more employable in the future. It also is a good sign of an empathetic leader who admits that they are not the expert at all tasks.
People might be interested to know that: So, the people that know me have heard this story, but while living in San Diego during the filming of Top Gun vintage 1986, our house was Viper’s house in the movie. My dad was in the Coast Guard, and we were lucky enough to live temporarily at the Point Loma Lighthouse. The story continues 36 years later….
One thing I wish more people knew about county government: One of the reasons I wanted to transition to local government from the military was that during my process I met so many people, veterans and non-veterans who never said no to my questions. It was one of the most enriching experiences to be mentored by others who wanted to see me succeed. Local government is the place to be if you want to continue to serve and work with some of the most selfless citizens in the country.