Mark McDaniel took over the role of deputy city manager in Fort Worth on Jan. 13.

A seasoned public sector executive with more than 35 years of experience, McDaniel previously served the city as interim chief transformation officer and helped create the FWLab, the city's innovations department.

In his most recent role, McDaniel served as senior vice president for Strategic Government Resources, where he conducted executive searches and led special consulting efforts, according to a city of Fort Worth news release.

His other city management roles include:
  • City manager for Kerrville, Texas
  • City manager for Tyler, Texas
  • City manager for Woodway, Texas
  • Assistant city manager for Lake Jackson, Texas
McDaniel talked with Community Impact about his new position. Answers may have been edited for length, style and clarity.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in city management?

Since before I can remember, I have always held a desire to help others through public service, but city management as an option was just not on the radar until college. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in philosophy at University of North Texas, my favorite college professor suggested I pursue a master’s degree in public administration and a career in local government management. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know about professional management of cities and experience it firsthand. I just couldn’t get enough of it. The rest is history.

How does a deputy city manager help manage the city on a daily basis?

In my new role I have direct executive oversight responsibility for the Fort Worth Lab, the Good Natured Greenspace Initiative, information technology services and intergovernmental relations. In addition, I am also charged with ensuring that many major projects progress as planned, and that internal communications and processes are effective and help the organization run smoothly. Finally, I have a role in helping to coach and mentor the executive team and management to support their professional development and their readiness to step into future promotional opportunities.

You have more than 35 years of experience in the public sector and city management. How will you leverage that experience in your new role?

Through my work experiences I have acquired a lot of knowledge about public finance and all city operations and functions, so I know what should be expected in terms of service levels and resource needs. I also know what kinds of questions to ask in a variety of situations. My prior experience as a city manager and assistant city manager has also helped me to anticipate challenges and opportunities from a 30,000-foot level involving multiple systems and looking at issues from several different perspectives.

Fort Worth was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country last year. What are some of the challenges you see facing you and other city officials in managing growth of that magnitude?

I grew up in the Fort Worth area, and I never thought I would see the kind of growth and change we have experienced in the last 10-20 years. Simply put, we need more than just a 20/20 lens for what is happening today. We also need a mindset for thinking about what is possible 50-plus years from now. That’s sometimes hard to do when you are so busy staffing and managing to address immediate needs, but it is imperative for sustainability and enhancement of our incredible quality of life. The mayor’s Good Natured Greenspace Initiative is just one of many examples of that.

If there’s one message you’d like to convey to the residents of Fort Worth about your new role, what would it be?

The Fort Worth area is a very special place in terms of its history, identity, culture, diversity, opportunities, community involvement, business friendliness, and competent public and private leadership. We are in a critical period that will determine our future for decades to come. I want to do my part to foster long-term and sustainable prosperity for all, while ensuring that Fort Worth remains the community that we all stayed here or moved here for in the first place.