Russellville Mayor Richard Harris invested an hour with Leadership Tech cohort four on Friday, Sept. 18, and shared his perspectives on leadership with Arkansas Tech University faculty and staff.
Harris retired from a more than 30-year in the disciplines of engineering, operations and training prior to running for mayor in 2018.
A former employee at Arkansas Nuclear One, he served two terms on the Russellville City Council from 2012-16 and took office as mayor in January 2019.
Harris recently supported renewal of a 1-cent sales tax in Russellville that funds road and parks maintenance within the city limits. Voters approved the renewal during a Sept. 8 election.
“One of the things I’ve noted about the City of Russellville is that we don’t have a clearly defined mission,” said Harris during the Webex meeting with Leadership Tech. “When the sales tax passed, that told me the community clearly wants to establish a foundation for future generations but we still need to define our mission.”
Harris noted that when that mission is defined it will need to include collaboration with ATU.
“Arkansas Tech is a critical part of the City of Russellville,” said Harris. “I can just imagine what our community would be like without Arkansas Tech. We have Arkansas Nuclear One and we have some very fine industries, but Arkansas Tech is a card we can play to those outside our community and show that we are a community of growing, learning and that we value education. Arkansas Tech sets us apart so much from other communities in Arkansas and is a platform that we probably haven’t utilized as effectively as we should have in promoting Russellville. I value the relationships we have with Arkansas Tech.”
ATU founded Leadership Tech in 2016 as a means of providing an internal professional development program available to all employees on all campuses of the institution.
The mission of Leadership Tech is “to develop and enhance the leadership knowledge, skills and abilities of all individuals as well as the collective leadership capacity of the university in order to achieve unparalleled excellence in serving our students, community supporters and institutional family.”
Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff in the ATU Office of the President, serves as chair of the Leadership Tech Governing Council.
Learn more about Leadership Tech at www.atu.edu/leadershiptech.