“This is one of the best-managed cities in the country,” Goodrum said. “It’s pretty easy to come in here under those scenarios.”
Formerly the city manager of Coral Springs, Florida, Goodrum got his start in city government as an intern for the Sugar Land Parks & Recreation Department. He worked his way up into an assistant city manager role before moving to Coral Springs in mid-2017.
“From the time I was an intern here, I wanted to be the city manager of Sugar Land,” Goodrum said. “I saw that it was a special place, and so many people have invested in me here—Allen Bogard being the biggest one that’s mentored me from the beginning.”
Goodrum said he meets with Bogard once a week, and the two are good friends.
During his 2 1/2 years in Coral Springs, Goodrum helped see the city through Hurricane Irma in 2017, which caused roughly $13 million in damage to the city; a mass shooting in 2018 in the neighboring city of Parkland; and the death of the city’s mayor in the middle of his term in 2018.
“Going through some of the things I went through, you hope they never happen here. I had three things happen in my first, really, year and a half there that a lot of city managers won’t deal with in their career,” Goodrum said. “Those things, I think, help prepare me for leading an organization and having the ultimate responsibility of a lot of people that depend on you.”
Goodrum was born in Richmond and grew up in Manvel. He went to college at Texas A&M University. One of his first jobs was with the Gulf Coast Water Authority spraying vegetative nuisance plants along Oyster Creek in Sugar Land, he said.
Goodrum also helped with the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory in 2017 before heading to Coral Springs to hold his first position as a city manager. This milestone annexation brought the population of Sugar Land to over 100,000 residents.
“I’ve actually been in Sugar Land now more in my life than anywhere else,” Goodrum said.
Goodrum said in the immediate future, he plans to keep meeting with local stakeholders, attend community meetings and reinvest himself into the community. Long term, Goodrum wants to ensure the city does not become complacent, and he is prioritizing assisting City Council with creating a unified, long-term vision.
“People move into a city when it’s shiny and it’s new,” he said. “And then once that city starts aging, they just move, and they go somewhere else. Not a whole lot of cities get better with age ... and I think we are getting better with age. But, we’re almost built out, so our challenges change from being a growth city to being a reinvestment city and reinvesting in ourselves.”
Although Sugar Land was incorporated in 1959, the city operated as a mayor-council form of government until 1985, when it shifted to a council-manager form of government. David Neeley served as Sugar Land’s first city manager, and Allen Bogard became the second in 2001, serving through 2019.