After Powell City Manager Steve Lutz announced his intentions last August to retire after serving more than 20 years with the City of Powell, the search began for his replacement. Lutz agreed to stay in his position while the search was being conducted, and last month that search finally concluded.
Andrew White, who is currently serving as the city manager for the City of Huron in Huron, Ohio, will take over for Lutz beginning Wednesday, April 1.
White began his time with the City of Huron as the assistant city manager in 2004, and when the position became available, was promoted to the city manager position in 2006.
His entire career has been shaped in public service, White said, dating back to his teenage years when one of his first jobs was in a parks and recreation department. White said his uncle also served as a town manager, which exposed him to the ins and outs of the position from an early age.
After completing his undergrad schooling at St. Bonaventure University, White worked in investments in Boston before going back to school to earn his master’s degree in public administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in Albany, New York.
White said that among the top allures of the Powell gig was the growth of the entire region, as well as Powell’s strong reputation.
“As a region, the central Ohio area is such a fast-growing, interesting community,” he said of what stood out about the Powell opening. “There is a lot of development, and Powell has a very sound reputation. They’re known in my circle as a very progressive and full-service community, and I was just really drawn to it from the first time I saw the (job) advertisement.”
White said he was sold on Powell as the right position for him after being able to talk and spend time with Powell City Council and city staff during the interview process.
Asked about any particular challenges that stand out to him relating to Powell’s city manager position, White again referred to the growth that is currently taking place and is forecasted to continue.
“It’s a challenge because you want to make sound decisions and manage that growth responsibly … There are some congestion problems with traffic patterns that are going to need to be addressed,” he said. “So, from a concept layout, a design, and then a funding mechanism, it will be really interesting to work on. But I’m up for the challenge.”
As for what excites him the most about coming to Powell, White said, “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the staff, getting engaged in the projects that they’re excited about. Also, meeting with council on a more specific basis to find out, both collectively and individually, what they see as the opportunities and challenges in the community.”
He added, “Getting to know the community, from the citizens and businesses to the different public resources. There is an awful lot when you’re coming into a new community, especially after you’ve had an incumbent who’s been there for so long and has done so many good things. I’m going to have a full plate, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
In a press release for White’s hire, Powell Mayor Frank Bertone said, “We are excited to welcome Andrew to the city of Powell as our new city manager. Andrew is highly qualified for the position and will do a tremendous job of leading our team. He has accomplished many things in Huron, and we look forward to having him lead our city.”