Town Manager, Westerly, Rhode Island
Derrik M. Kennedy is a 2008 UConn MPA graduate. He is currently working as a Town Manager in Westerly, Rhode Island. Derrik works closely with the community of Westerly, which has a year-round population of 25,000 and increases in the summer to around 60-70,000. As a Town Manager his greatest challenge is making sure that all the areas of Westerly are recognized, serviced, and provided equitably. Derrik truly loves his job because no day is the same. Each day Derrik works; another issue arises, an opportunity presents itself, or an obstacle needs assessing and hurdling. He is very grateful for working as a Town Manager and working closely with public services that affect everyone’s life. His career is and will be in municipal management.
Derrik found himself in the MPA program when he researched and knew what the qualifications were to be a municipal manager. He also had the desire to be an educationally and professional trained municipal manager so that his credentials would stand up against others interested in positions. Once interested in public administration, he looked to see which schools were the best for the degree.
During his time in the MPA program, Derrik had two experiences within the program that really justified his career choice. The first was an issue class, where the discussion centered on municipal issues. The second experience was with Human Resources Management, where the staff worked on collective bargaining issues and costed-out a contract. Those hands-on, real-world classes still helped him in the past and continue to do so today.
Derriks MPA degree gave him management opportunities, such as getting an interview for the position of Town Manager. Further, his degree helped him seek the “why” of every situation that arises, instead of focusing on the current issue or the result. Getting to the bottom of issues and understanding the background of the situation allows him to make better decisions that the Council, staff, and community can understand.