I was born and raised in NH and have lived in Manchester with my wife Laurie for 25 years. We’re raising 4 daughters who have spent 30 collective school years in Manchester’s public schools. My wife and I have always been actively involved with their education and worked closely with their teachers.
For the last five years, I’ve become increasingly involved in education issues at the local and state levels. I’ve attended and spoken at State Board of Education and Manchester Board of School Committee meetings about issues ranging from common core to redistricting. Now that two of my daughters have graduated from Manchester Memorial High School and my term on the Executive Board of the International Society of Automation (ISA) is over, I decided to dedicate myself to improving Manchester’s schools.
I will be an effective BOSC member because:
- My long history of effective volunteer leadership demonstrates the ability to work with others to lead change
- My experience serving on boards and chairing committees means I know how to get results
- My work in engineering prepared me to find solutions within a strict set of constraints
I’ve been a volunteer leader for the ISA (a 50,000 member organization) since 2004, serving in multiple leadership positions and earning several awards for leadership and accomplishment. My responsibilities have included Boston Section President, Water/Wastewater Division Director, Vice President of Strategic Planning, and Executive Board member where I serve on the Finance Committee and chair the Social Media and Web Advisory Committee. Some of the leadership awards I’ve earned include:
- Emerging Leader Award (2010)
- Most Improved Division Award (2011)
- Outstanding Leader Award (2012)
I was also proud to serve for 3 years on the Board of Trustees for an innovative, private school in Manchester, Liberty Harbor Academy. The school’s founder, Julianne Cooper, was a pioneer in the development of “spiral education” and introduced me to the value and importance of primary sources in education.
Experience matters. Board decorum matters. I’ve served on several boards and chaired committees, which means that I understand how they work and – more importantly – how to get things done. Rules of debate exist for a reason: They ensure that debate occurs in a fair and orderly fashion. When those rules are skirted the conversation devolves, emotions flare, and the public interest is not served.
It’s also important to understand how committees work because they are typically the places where the work of the board gets done. Without effective leadership, committees tend to become gatherings where well-intentioned people spend lots of time admiring a problem but precious little time actually solving a problem.
In my time on the boards of ISA, Liberty Harbor Academy, and Automation.com, I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented and experienced leaders. I learned how to facilitate constructive discussions and effect change in organizations.
How does engineering experience relate to the Board of School Committee? I’d argue there are several reasons but the most important is understand the role of constraints in the design process. Like it or not, the City of Manchester has a tax cap and the school district’s budget is approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. While the MSD budget has increased 10 of the last 11 years, it frequently does not receive all of the funding it requests. That means that the District needs to understand how to plan and operate under constraints. As an engineer, I was given design requirements and couldn’t simply demand more power or a larger footprint or more expensive components.
My experience has included designing control systems in very dangerous environments like incinerators, boilers, chemical facilities, water treatment plants, and gas pipelines. I’ve spent decades shouldering the responsibility of designing solutions with very little margin for error.