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Tommy Gonzalez is an energetic and creative young business leader who brings an executive philosophy to his role as city manager for Irving, Texas. Here he implements many forms of business strategy to create an innovative approach to municipal government. He firmly believes in the advantages of running the public sector of local government like a private business, including a focus on delivering excellent customer service. As the customers in this example are the residents of Irving, Texas, this means listening to what they have to say and implementing effective changes based on their feedback.
As Irving’s City Manager, Tommy Gonzalez is in charge of overseeing 2,100 employees and a budget of $500 million. His innovative leadership style has led to much recognition for the city of Irving, on both a state and national level. Despite a sluggish economy, Irving also enjoys great success in economic development thanks to model partnerships with DART, the DFW Airport, and the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. These partnerships have led to the creation of over 20,000 new jobs and the retention of 14,000 other jobs in the past seven years.
On top of all of this responsibility, Tommy Gonzalez is also a dedicated family man who enjoys spending time with his wife, Sandy, and their two sons, Sagen and Sager. He helps coach his sons’ sports teams, and he also provides volunteer work to the Irving community by cleaning up and repairing local homes. As a retired colonel in the United States military, Gonzalez lives and works by the motto, “Don’t say, do.”
The professional history that Tommy Gonzalez brings to his present endeavors includes a varied mix of higher education, military service, and past positions in municipal governments.
Tommy Gonzalez earned his bachelor’s degree in science from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico. He graduated in 1990 and went on to attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Here he earned his master’s degree in public administration after graduating in 1995.
Years later, both of his alma maters awarded Gonzalez as an outstanding distinguished alumnus. Eastern New Mexico University bestowed this honor on Tommy in 2012, while Texas Tech University did the same a year later in 2013.
In addition to holding degrees from both of these schools, Gonzalez also received his certification from the University of Texas in 2010 as a Black Belt in Lean Sigma Six. This is a managerial practice designed to improve business effectiveness and efficiency.
Tommy served his country for 22 years with the United States Army, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel before his retirement. During this time, he was deployed to locations all over the world.
Gonzalez began his military service with a military education, beginning with a civil military operations course in 1989. In 1990 he gained the rank of 2nd lieutenant for the United States Army. He was then deployed to several countries in the Middle East, including Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
Over the next 22 years, Gonzalez continued his military training, rising through the ranks. His service took him to such locales as Bosnia Herzegovina and Banja Luka before bringing him back to Lubbock, Texas. During this time he served as an international liaison officer, army reserve major, and army reserve captain before finally attaining the position of lieutenant colonel in 2010.
Two years later in 2012, Tommy Gonzalez retired from his military career to better focus on his role in the municipal government.
Serving Lubbock, Texas
While still a 1st lieutenant in the army, Gonzalez first went to work for the city of Lubbock, Texas, as a graffiti removal coordinator. Here he oversaw 21 staff members in a program that went on to remove graffiti from over 220 city sites.
From this foothold, Tommy Gonzalez steadily climbed his way up the Lubbock city government to greater and greater responsibilities. His many positions throughout the years included the following:
City Manager’s Office Management Assistant
Assistant Director of Communication Services
City Council Chief of Staff
Managing Director of Civil Services
Assistant to the City Manager
And Interim City Manager
Serving Harlingen and Dallas
In 2004, Tommy Gonzalez left Lubbock, Texas, for Harlingen, Texas, where he became the city manager. This put him in charge of 25 city departments. His accomplishments in this role include developing the first strategic plan for the city, which served as a foundation to upgrade Harlingen’s customer service and bond rating. He also implemented a contract management program, developed a cost recovery program, and improved the city’s revenue by developing new revenue streams.
In late 2005, Tommy Gonzalez then turned his attention to Dallas, where he became assistant city manager. Here he helped supervise city staff and was made accountable for an organization of more than 13,000 employees. In addition to serving as the liaison to the Civil Service Division, Tommy was also responsible for the following areas:
And the Office of Environmental Quality
This position lasted until 2006, when Gonzalez finally stepped into the role of city manager for Irving, Texas.
Honors and Awards
Throughout his career as a student, military serviceman, and municipal manager, Gonzalez has received much recognition and many honors. His most recent award was the Mustang Legacy Award, which the Irving Chamber presented to him during their 2013 Annual Meeting.
In addition to this, Tommy Gonzalez was also granted the 2009-2010 Minority Business Leader Award by the Dallas Business Journal and the 2010 Hispanic Leadership Award from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among many others.
In turning his sights to the future, Tommy Gonzalez plans to continue serving Irving, Texas, as well as he has done for the past seven years. Thanks to his innovative leadership skills, the city has already earned a large number of national awards. This includes the 2012 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is the highest presidential honor that the nation can bestow for performance excellence. In the 25-year history of the program, Irving has become the award’s second ever municipal recipient as well as the largest city to ever receive the award.
Irving has also been named one of the Top 20 Best Run Cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. and one of the Top 50 “Best Places to Live” by Bloomberg Businessweek, all thanks in large part to Gonzalez’s excellent city management. Going forward, he plans to build on this success record to continue making Irving into the best possible city that it can be.
In addition, Tommy would also love to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company at some point in his professional future. He has analyzed the principles of sports, the military, and the public section, and he now wants to bring their benefits to a private company.
Beyond this, most of Gonzalez’s definite plans for his future involve spending more time with his wife and sons. His work coaching his sons’ sports teams is just one way that he is able to do this. Tommy Gonzalez also continues to help out his community outside his government office through volunteer service.
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