During the cold days of a St. Louis winter, many of us dream of going to Florida. MPPA graduate Carl Schwing took the skills he learned in the program and made it happen. “Instead of just retiring to Florida, we decided to move there,” Schwing said.
Armed with years of practical experience and his Master of Public Policy Administration from UMSL, Schwing was appointed the city manager of Bonita Springs, Florida in 2011. Prior to this he was the community development director and later assistant city manager for the city of Cape Coral, Florida.
Originally, Schwing did not set out to work in local government. As a salesman of shortenings and oils for Proctor and Gamble, Schwing went looking for something more fulfilling. A personality test identified public administration as a good fit.
“As I transitioned through the needed education and internship, I realized more and more that this was the right path for me,” Schwing said, and the MPPA program, “made me think in a different way by broadening my view of how policy makers need to think and view topics.”
He was given “a great mentoring opportunity” through an internship with the city of Manchester. After graduating in 1982, his first public service position was with the city of Berkeley as assistant to the city manager.
Schwing says he still uses the skills he learned while a student at UMSL and points to his experience at UMSL as a major component for this success. “After 30 years, the same basic principles apply. Stakeholders and ramifications change, but the approach is still the same.”
He continues to recommend the program to anyone interested in public policy. He advises students not to view this time lightly. “Enjoy your time on the campus but take advantage of your instructor’s knowledge and expertise. Other than your parents, no one else wants you to succeed as much as your teachers.”
- Mike Skinker