Exeleon Magazine

Richard Derrick: Leading the City of Henderson by Example

Richard Derrick_Exeleon Magazine_City of Henderson

There are multiple characteristics that constitute a dynamic personality. It can be the way someone radiates energy and attracts people. Or it can be the way someone communicates clearly and effectively while conveying intelligent thoughts and perspectives. Some might even say that investing wisely and being productive and proactive also adds up to having a dynamic personality.

In Richard Derrick’s definition, a dynamic individual has a clear vision for where they want to be. One who has a passion for what he/she does and is responsive to the needs and ideas of others, and has a positive outlook on whatever comes before them.

Mr. Derrick reflects the same understanding in leading the City of Henderson as its leader and Manager. He doesn’t let his people and the City forget that they can become America’s Premier community by providing the services and resources that enhance the quality of life for those who live, learn, work and play therein.

And as the CEO, he leads a value-driven organization that implements City Council-prioritized short and long-term plans to achieve the City’s purpose and vision. He also drives City-wide programs through strategic visioning and hands-on leadership, focusing on best practices, performance indicators, and the improvement of the organization’s constructive culture.

Becoming a Leader

Richard had the chance to improve his talents in several fields such as education, gaming, and finance before working for the City of Henderson. These were all challenging and intriguing venues for Richard to work and learn leadership qualities.

However, he had a professional setback at the beginning of his career before mastering his leadership talents, thereby forcing him to review his career development approach. Although Richard observed it as a chance for progress, it was also an internal conflict of self-evaluation and honesty.

“The first step I took was to acknowledge I didn’t get it right and then connect with others who were positive, objective, and focused on solutions that could help me. I also learned that I needed to devise a plan to minimize the impact of this setback,” explains Richard.

He also recounts how he improved his circumstances by taking a positive approach and being proactive. “You can’t just forget it. You have to proactively work to make the situation better. That’s how you continue to improve and learn from obstacles that will inevitably occur during your career.”

And the best opportunity came when he got the job of being a Manager of Budget and Strategic Management of the City of Henderson. Later, he became the Assistant to the City Manager, Finance Director, CFO, and Assistant City Manager before his appointment in 2018 as the City of Henderson’s 12th City Manager.

Richard describes this position and his tenure with the City as an incredible experience. The City allowed him to grow professionally, work with outstanding colleagues , and help shape the direction of the second-largest city in Nevada.

“For the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of working in my dream job as CEO of the City of Henderson. As a native of this great community, it has been an incredible opportunity for me to help lead our City as it has grown from a small, one industry town to the second largest municipality in the state of Nevada,” states the passionate leader.

As the City Manager, Richard ensures that the organization’s leadership culture empowers employees to communicate their ideas, opinions, and concerns and have them addressed quickly. His leadership approach extends to having an open dialogue with workers and the Executive Team through the organization-wide Team Henderson Huddles and the annual Employee Engagement Survey. He asserts, “I also really love my job and come into work each day knowing I will give it my all. And when that’s the case, people around you notice your passion and are motivated to do their best.”

And for his tremendous leadership abilities, The Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE), a nationally recognized organization that advances improvement and excellence in organizations, communities, and individuals throughout Nevada, Arizona and Utah, presented Richard with the 2021 Leadership Award.

A Full-Service City

The City of Henderson is the state’s largest full-service City with all essential public services therein. It is consistently recognized for its premier parks, trails, and master-planned communities. It also has nationally accredited departments, including the police and fire departments – the latter of which is one of the nation’s only triple-accredited fire agencies.

Moreover, the Raiders choosing the city as their new corporate home, delivering 250 jobs and a commitment to community cooperation, was one of the most apparent indicators that Henderson is an economically robust and diversified city. Additionally, the city forged a public-private collaboration with the legendary Vegas Golden Knights to build Lifeguard Arena, a contemporary community ice rink and public leisure facility. And soon, the city will be home to the Henderson Silver Knights, a new American Hockey League franchise.

Richard is excited to witness all this growth, as these sports organizations have joined the league of Google, Haas Automation, and Amazon in choosing Henderson as their new home.

Coming Together to Fight the Pandemic

The City’s community’s public health, economy, and quality of life also came as a testament to its robust offerings. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City was prepared to make a series of tough, life-saving decisions early due to the longstanding focus on preparedness and the creation of an All-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan.

During the unprecedented times, the city responded with innovation, determination, and resilience, aided by the strength of an exceptional staff. The crew provided personal protective equipment to first responders, allowing them to continue delivering emergency response services. This approach also included COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, which improved the safety of nearly 50,000 people.

Furthermore, the City issued federal CARES Act grants to maintain business continuity, aid individuals with rental, utility, and childcare assistance, and promote distance learning for students who lacked access to the essential resources.

Being Proactive is the Key

In Richard’s opinion, to thrive in today’s dynamic, ever-changing world, professionals need a wide range of abilities to lead the future workforce effectively. Thus, for individuals in the midst of their entrepreneurial journeys, Richard’s advice entails staying true to yourself, making connections, helping those in need, following up with people and situations, accepting failure and rejection, and being proactive.

He says, “By continuing to learn about your career field, organization, business environment and your employees you will enhance your ability to deal with the unexpected yet inevitable changes and challenges that come your way.”

A Beautiful and Secure Future

Richard Derrick assures the public that the City of Henderson has an unwavering commitment to community safety, continued focus on economic vitality, provision of quality education, high-performing public service, and providing livable communities in which the residents and businesses can thrive. Hence, moving forward, he will continue to prepare for and be ready to respond to future challenges with continued commitment to sound fiscal management and economic stability.

On a personal level, as the future unfolds, Richard is looking forward to taking the organization’s reins and capitalizing on the qualities that have helped the business navigate through the difficult circumstances of the last year.

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