Photo credit: The Berea Citizen, Keith Taylor
As a city administrator for the City of Berea, David Gregory draws on more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement and the lessons he’s learned in the EKU Online master’s of public administration program.
Gregory worked his way up from police officer to sergeant to lieutenant before taking the helm at the Berea Police Department. While serving as police chief, he decided to enroll in the EKU Online MPA program to prepare for future advancement.
The MPA program includes core courses such as policy analysis, leadership and finance administration to prepare graduates for a variety of jobs in the public sector. He took advantage of the opportunity to customize the degree and added elective courses in intergovernmental relations and community development.
With a family and a demanding job, he knew returning to school would not be easy, but EKU made it possible. “The mission of EKU is clearly exhibited by faculty and staff,” said Gregory. “Knowing they care and want you to be successful in the classroom and in life is important.” His enrollment advisor helped him create a graduation plan that fit with his work schedule. His professors communicated often, which helped him stay connected and motivated.
He was able to apply his assignments to his professional role almost immediately. He took a class on public sector leadership that explored management styles and theories. One of the most valuable lessons he learned from that course was to avoid micromanaging by trusting good employees to do their jobs and stepping in to provide guidance when needed. “Examining my own leadership strengths and weaknesses helped me grow as the leader of a police department,” said Gregory.
Another course on administration, ethics and public policy helped him develop a deeper understanding of the many facets of city administration. “To this day, I still reference the course material for possible solutions,” he said.
As a manager, he encourages those he supervises to continue their education, too. It lets them know that he appreciates their work and wants to see them continue to excel. “The accomplishment of finishing a degree is rewarding for both the employee and employer,” Gregory explained because having an educated workforce is a point of pride for the city.
Gregory’s commitment to continuous improvement for himself and his community led to his role as city administrator. A few months before he was scheduled to complete his degree, he was recommended for the job by Mayor Bruce Fraley. The city council approved unanimously.
“David has all the things that will lead to success and translate to improvements in the city, and I know he will immerse himself in the community, supporting Berea and working well with other elected officials,” Fraley told reporters from The Richmond Register.