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Dear Durham,

When I first met you in 2007, I had no idea how much you would change over the next eight years. Today, your downtown is booming; (as I explained in several of my posts this summer) you are implementing a number of innovative practices that have made you a great place to live and work – no wonder you are constantly ranked on top-performing lists; you are also continuously looking for ways to improve and develop in all facets.

In 2007, I also had no idea that I would eventually be working for you. At the time, I was a biomedical engineer student looking to return to Texas upon graduation. But, as the years went by, my interest in public policy grew and my desire to move back to Texas was supplanted by my desire to set up roots in North Carolina.

Last semester, when I began looking at potential professional work experiences, you were at the top of my list of places to apply to. Fortunately, everything worked out and I was offered a position with your Manager’s Office. Even though I only worked with you for 10 weeks, I learned and experienced so much:

  1. By completing a series of ride-alongs with several departments, I learned first-hand about the many challenges faced by employees who provide direct services to residents. I also learned about the deep-commitment employees have to you and the pleasure they experience in conducting their jobs.
  2. I also had multiple candid and insightful conversations with people who offered me great advice on a myriad things. Some provided guidance on how to deal with troublesome employees while others explained how to bring about change to an organization in need of some innovation or what courses to take next year to round-out my education.
  3. Most importantly, everything I did this summer, particularly attending budget discussions, allowed me to confirm that I want to pursue a career in local government management.

Thank you for being such a great City to work for. Because of everything you have offered me, I leave a better student and professional. I bid you adieu for now Durham. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again soon!


Alexander Vazquez

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