Three  years ago, when Peter Grant was working as the Assistant City Manager in the City of Redondo Beach, he was putting some serious thought into where he wanted his career to go. Sitting pretty in his late thirties, he had earned his BA in Political Science, and his MPA from the University of Southern California, then gone on to collect an impressive list of real world experience in both the private and public sectors. He was considering pursuing a position as City Manager, but knew that it was a big commitment.

The City Manager in Redondo Beach, Bill Workman, had mentored nine other individuals towards positions as city managers, and he saw the same potential in Peter. Workman encouraged Peter to attend CCMF’s New & Future City Managers Seminar.

The seminar is a longstanding annual tradition with CCMF, geared toward helping those seeking to become city managers. Participants gather insights from experienced city managers and hear stories that guide and inform their career choices. It is a rare opportunity for individuals beginning their careers in local government to trade ideas with seasoned veterans.

“The CCMF facilitators who volunteered their weekend (including Wade McKinney, Jeff Kolin, Rita Geldert, Bruce Channing and Bill Garrett) provided a very honest assessment of the pros and cons of the profession,” said Grant. “The seminar helped me identify the type of city I wanted to manage and shaped the way I branded myself and my experience during the recruitment and interview process. It confirmed my desire to be a city manager and reinforced that I wouldn’t just survive the profession, but thrive in and enjoy it!”


Cypress City Clerk Denise Basham congratulates new City Manager Peter Grant after swearing him in at the July 14, 2014, City Council meeting. Photo by C.E.H. Wiedel, originally published in the Orange County Breeze.

After participating in the 2011 seminar, Grant spent another two years in Redondo Beach before beginning his city manager job search. Then, on July 14, 2014, Grant was sworn in as the City Manager in the City of Cypress. “The binder of material CCMF provided at the seminar was a great resource as I planned my job search, prepared for interviews with recruiters and City Councils, and especially as I readied myself to start in Cypress.”

Still in his first 100 days as City Manager, Grant told us that he refers to the seminar material often. “I read the binder from front to back twice before I started and I plan to revisit it and the ICMA First-Time Administrator’s Handbook again at day 50 and 100.”

When asked if he would recommend the seminar he had this to say: “It is worthwhile investment for anyone contemplating pursuing a city manager job – even if you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. You’re going to receive a remarkable amount of collective wisdom from very accomplished city managers to which you wouldn’t otherwise have access.”

From all of us here at CCMF, congratulations Peter! And best of luck to you in your new position.