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Holcomb maps out Ada's future for city projects
[November 15, 2012]

Holcomb maps out Ada's future for city projects

ADA, Nov 15, 2012 (Ada Evening News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Ada's road map for the future is coming together on City Manager Cody Holcomb's laptop computer.

Holcomb is compiling a database of city projects, complete with cost estimates and a time line for getting the work done. The database is color coded by division, and it includes a description of each project, deadlines and possible sources of funding.

When the database is finished, city officials will have a useful tool for planning for the future, Holcomb said Wednesday.

"I didn't start the job having this complete, but this is how we're going to get there," he said. Public and private experience Holcomb brings a combination of public and private experience to his new role as Ada's chief executive.

He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering, then enrolled at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. He earned a master's degree in business administration from UCO in 2005.

Holcomb began his engineering career in 1998 when he joined the Oklahoma Citybased company Tetra Tech/FHC as an engineer intern. His responsibilities included designing rural highways and municipal improvement projects, such as roads, airports and utilities.

Holcomb remained with Tetra Tech/FHC until February 2003 when he became a sales engineer with the Edmond-based firm Contech Construction Products. His duties included business development, construction administration and offering technical support.

In November 2005, Holcomb became a branch/office manager for the Ada-based firm NRS Consulting Engineers. He held that position until May 2008, when he became the city engineer and public works director.

The public works director is responsible for making sure the city provides essential services while the engineer designs road upgrades and other projects. When Holcomb started working for the city, one person held both positions.

"It was difficult to be good at both because they each took so much time that it was better for us to have a separate city engineer and a separate public works director," Holcomb said. "So we broke them apart. And when that happened, that's when the city promoted me to assistant city manager." Even when Holcomb was promoted, most of his tasks were in the public works division. He started managing the engineering division and began meeting with city officials -- including the city manager and city attorney -- to keep the lines of communication open.

Holcomb served as the assistant city manager and public works director from July 2010 until September 2011, when he returned to the business world as a senior project engineer for Wall Engineering.

Less than a year later, Holcomb returned to City Hall. This time, he was filling in for former City Manager David Hathcoat, who resigned in February.

Holcomb said the Ada City Council asked him to consider working part time to ease the transition to a new city manager. He agreed to help out, but he didn't know whether he wanted to take over as chief executive.

"I think both the council and myself had an understanding that I didn't know if I wanted to do it full time, but I was definitely interested to use the time to see if I would like to," he said. "They communicated that they were going to go out and probably do a search, and I said, 'I think you should. I think you need to. I think that's what's in the best interests of Ada.' "As I got in, I started doing the job -- I've been doing the job for the last nine months, until last week -- and I really fell in love with it." After interviewing five candidates for the city manager's job, the city council approved a contract with Holcomb in early November. Priorities As the city manager, Holcomb has several major tasks ahead, including reviewing a study of city services with division heads.

The Norman-based firm Chell Consulting recently completed a top-to-bottom analysis of city government, which included an evaluation of how the city provides services. The study also looked at ways to boost efficiency or provide additional services.

Other tasks for Holcomb include devising the city's budget for the next fiscal year, developing a capital improvement plan and finishing the database of upcoming projects.

Holcomb said the database will help officials address the city's needs by giving them a list of projects. Officials can determine which projects are at the top of the list and figure out how to pay for them.

"Once you know all that, then you can sit down and say, 'OK, this is a priority,'" he said.

___ (c)2012 the Ada Evening News (Ada, Okla.) Visit the Ada Evening News (Ada, Okla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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