I have owned and operated small businesses both as a sole proprietor and in corporate partnership as a member of a board of directors. What I learned from this experience is that the most important aspect of any business is to set and manage expectations. This is frequently overlooked in governmental organizations because people making decisions or doing the work aren't directly accountable to the taxpayers footing the bill. I believe in accountability and sensibility, I try and listen to everyone involved and mediate their concerns to find solutions that work in the short term and make solid sense in the long term.
At heart I'm an analyst, I try and see whatever situation I find myself in for what it is and how it came to be so. Usually I accomplish this through a series of questions, for example:
There are many different competing perspectives on any situation, this requires of us to define which of these views are supported, in full or part by the evidence before us. What possibilities do we have for outcomes given a certain set of circumstances and what are our possible courses of action? Each course of action defines a set of outcomes, some favorable, some not. What outcome do we ultimately hope for from the situation? What can we do to bring about a given outcome with the fewest negative impacts? Each course of action or inaction has consequences so we must be ready to assess the results at each step to certify they are in line with our desired and expected outcomes, or be prepared to revise our strategy.
I try and help people work together to realize better results through mutual understanding. I endeavor to understand and respect each person and their viewpoint while advocating the complementary and contrasting viewpoints of others. Frequently people have 95% of their views in common, but focus on their diffences. A community can accomplish incredible, seemingly impossible goals by setting these differences aside and working together on their common goals.
I am a natural mediator, I do my best to be an efficient and enthusiastic participant in the above process with an eye to maintaining the relationship between the concerned parties. The relationship is the most important deliverable of any business transaction or interaction. Being straightforward in who you are is the cornerstone of being a reliable and steady partner. Whether in business or personal life, time invested in honest communication is always worthwhile. This is one of the reasons I love to live in the Rogue Valley, I can know the people around me in my community over a long period of time.
I have proudly served as both a Trustee and Exalted Ruler for the Ashland Elks and was involved in many weighty issues during my tenure. I'm used to dealing with financial review and budgetary approval issues. One of the biggest successes we had during that time was investing in our facilities by repainting and restoring the Elks building in downtown Ashland. It improved the entire block and took the coordinated time and effort of many volunteers to realize. It was really a proud accomplishment, knowing that I have contributed directly to making my community a better, more beautiful place by honoring our historic buildings.
I currently serve on the Planning Commission of my current community Jacksonville, Oregon. Serving on the planning commission for a National Historic Landmark is an important responsibility and one that I take very seriously. I seek to be objective and non biased even while I have passion and opinions around some of the issues. What most people don't realize is that the Planning Commission actually does very little planning, mostly it makes decisions in it's quasi-judicial role about what kind of development fits which zoning area and what conditions are appropriate to attach to permitted remodels, new uses and incoming development to retain the intent of the zoning. If the code says a development is allowed within certain criteria, those are the criteria we use to evaluate it. Whether we're talking about building code or corporate governance, it needs to be clear to understand, transparent to those involved and fair in execution.
My job with the City of Ashland deals very directly with everyday inner workings, policies and actions of city councils. So I feel I’m very prepared for the work at hand and have a firm grip on how municipalities are structured and operate on a day to day and long term basis. My experience with small business continues vicariously through my wife Cheryl D. Garcia who is a regionally reknown metal artist. Our household knows first hand the difficulties of paying the bills, managing credit, making and keeping promises!