Name: Tommy Brown
Title: Parking and Public Transit Director
Family: Wife Jeanne, daughter Abby Grace and Lauren
Education: Graduated Huntsville High, attended Alabama then graduated from Alabama A&M. Received emergency management certification from UAH.
Background: Had work-study grant while working on masters at Alabama A&M to work in City of Huntsville transportation office in 1980. Worked at several levels in the transportation office before being appointed acting department head by Mayor Steve Hettinger in 1992.
What You Didn’t Know: First job with City of Huntsville was with HEMSI as a medic.
Brown On Leadership: I believe in hiring the best people I can hire and I always try to hire people that are smarter than me. I always add to that: that’s a rather low bar.
The key is to hire smart people and I leave them alone to do their jobs. I don’t micromanage. If I have to watch over somebody all that time, I can’t do what I need to do. I look for a smart person and I give them the leeway to do their job. I really believe in letting them have the latitude to do what we pay them to do.
I don’t ask anybody to do anything I wouldn’t do. I’ve done just about everything there is to do in this department. If we need somebody to help wash a bus, I wouldn’t have any problem to go out and help wash if we’re in a jam.
I believe they pay us for one reason, and that’s to provide a service to the customers. Everything we do, we try to focus on that. I really place an emphasis on customer service.
I try to operate the department like it’s a business as much as I can, even though it’s part of government. I try to make sound business decisions. If this were my profit-making business, would this make sense to me?
There are plenty of people who have influenced me over the years. It’s corny but I guess my dad was the primary influence over me. He always taught me to do the right thing and treat everybody like I wanted to be treated. I certainly try to do that.
‘My views on leadership’ is a regular CityBlog series. Get to know a new City of Huntsville Department Head and their leadership style in this weekly series.