The City of Victoria soon will welcome two new assistant city managers – the city manager for the City of Commerce who has more than 10 years of local government experience, and an executive from the City of San Antonio with more than 20 years of experience in local government.
Darrek Ferrell, Commerce city manager, will join the City of Victoria Jan. 13, and Mike Etienne, PhD, San Antonio’s assistant director of Neighborhood & Housing Services, will join the Victoria team Jan. 6.
"Darrek and Mike are outstanding local government professionals, and we’re excited they will join our team," City Manager Jesús A. Garza said. "Their diverse backgrounds will be an asset to our community as we continue the implementation of our Victoria 2035 Comprehensive Plan."
Ferrell brings 10 years of local government experience with nearly five of them as a city manager. His areas of expertise include economic development, overall administration, lean management, and finance and budget. During his time in Commerce, Ferrell focused on organizational leadership by rebuilding the management team and improving the city’s bond rating from a BBB to an A, further indicating the city’s credit quality. In addition, he worked with the State Legislature to pass a bill that will pave the way for Commerce to build a hotel and convention center in the community.
Prior to joining the City of Commerce, Ferrell began his career with the City of Brenham and the City of San Antonio in the Office of Management & Budget. He also spent some time working for the City Manager’s Office in McKinney, and in the City of Mount Vernon as its city administrator and economic development director. Ferrell earned a master’s degree in public service and administration from Texas A&M University.
"My family and I are really excited about making Victoria our new home," Ferrell said. "Victoria has so much potential. I look forward to assisting Mr. Garza, City staff, City Council, the Mayor and Victoria residents in reaching their goals and priorities to improve the quality of life in our community."
Etienne brings more than 20 years of diverse city and county experience in the areas of community and economic development, real estate services, capital projects and community engagement. Prior to joining the City of San Antonio, Etienne began his career in Virginia, where he worked for the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County and the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority. During his time working for the City of San Antonio, he served as an assistant director for the Neighborhood & Housing Services department, a director for East Point Revitalization, and an assistant director for Capital Improvements & Management Services. Etienne earned a master’s degree in urban & regional planning and a doctorate in public policy & administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Etienne also is an adjunct professor of urban and regional economic development, and economics at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
While employed with the City of San Antonio, Etienne led the revitalization of East Point, a 22-square-mile area containing some of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods. The City of San Antonio received federal grants in partnership with eastside nonprofits, the United Way of San Antonio, San Antonio Housing Authority and San Antonio Independent School District. The grants are helping drive innovative transformation through various educational, housing, economic and quality of life initiatives.
"It’s an honor to join the Victoria team as an assistant city manager, and I look forward to building partnerships to help make the city flourish," Etienne said. "Victoria is a growing city with so much history, and I look forward to collaboratively working with everyone to make Victoria the best it can be."
A search was conducted for two assistant city managers due to the retirement of former Assistant City Manager John Kaminski as well as Garza’s desire to see the city grow and expand its ability to proactively respond to City goals laid out by the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The plan was adopted by Victoria’s City Council in 2016 and identified five focus areas that will enhance livability in Victoria. The vision and goals outlined by the plan were reaffirmed by council Dec. 13 during a special Victoria City Council meeting.