For the last eight years, Oak Ridge North City Manager Vicky Rudy has worked on developing city improvement projects, enhancing economic development and cultivating a professional city staff while becoming a key community leader in Montgomery County.
Rudy’s tenure will come to an end Aug. 31 after she announced her intent to retire in April.
Rudy accepted her first city manager position 15 years ago after being a stay-at-home parent to her two children, Olivia and Garman. Before getting involved in city government, Rudy lived in Magnolia, where she spent years as a school board trustee for Magnolia ISD and an active member of the community.
In 2003, Rudy started her city manager career, drawing on her education in journalism at Arkansas State University and past experiences as an editor for Shell Oil publications and the Arkansas Department of Human Services. She became city manager with the city of Montgomery, where she helped with tourism programs, oversaw a number of infrastructure projects and was involved in the construction of a new sewer plant.
“I ended up interviewing with [Montgomery] and, quite frankly, I had no idea what a city administrator would do, and they had no idea because they had never had one before,” she said. “But at the end of the day, they took a chance on me and I took a chance on them. I was there from 2003 to 2007, and I had just a wonderful experience there.”
Rudy then worked in the city of Rollingwood near Austin from 2007 to 2009 before accepting her position as city manager of Oak Ridge North.
“When this position came open in 2010, I had left Rollingwood, and I knew Oak Ridge North very well from my previous years in Montgomery County,” Rudy said. “I decided this is where I wanted to be, and Oak Ridge was very familiar to me. I knew the people and I knew the community.”
When Rudy took over the role of city manager in Oak Ridge North in 2010, she said the city faced a series of challenges, the solving of which have ultimately changed the city to what it is today.
“When I came to Oak Ridge North, the big challenge here was that they had zoning but no real comprehensive plan in place,” Rudy said. “For a city manager, a comprehensive plan is your Bible. It’s what the community wants to accomplish, and your job is to help them accomplish what they envision for the city.”
Rudy said while a comprehensive plan for Oak Ridge North was put in place in 2014, other challenges for the city still needed to be addressed, such as infrastructure, drainage issues and resurfacing residential streets.
“While we were putting a comprehensive plan in place, the biggest challenge we were facing was the infrastructure–there was little plan maintenance for the infrastructure of the city for the 40 years it has been in existence,” she said. “So in 2010 when I got here, I was faced with a failing sewer system and an aging water system.”
Mayor Jim Kuykendall, who has served since 2011, said Rudy has been a great asset and has implemented many positive changes throughout the city.
“Vicky came here during a time when there was a lot of turmoil in the city,” Kuykendall said. “She stabilized everything, [and] she took us in a forward direction. She’s been a great asset, not only to us, but she’s [also] super respected all around the county and the state of Texas.”
Rudy said while she was involved in a variety of projects for Oak Ridge North during her time as city manager, she would not have been able to do it without her fellow city staff members.
“One of the things that I’m most proud of is the staff we’ve developed here,” Rudy said. “Everyone is highly professional, very experienced and very capable of running their department. I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made here. I hate to leave them, that’s the hardest part.”