Meet Tommy Ludwig, Burleson’s interim city manager
Plus, Chamber of Commerce held "Business over Breakfast" and a preview of the week ahead
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The Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce held its member-only “Business over Breakfast” event Tuesday at the Burleson Recreation Center (BRiCk).
The event featured a speech from Lisa Boultinghouse, CEO and founder of Center for ASD, and a “mental health lesson” from Derrick Rose, a personal trainer at the BRiCk, and a spotlight on PuroClean of Crowley and Next Step Women’s Center.
The next “Business over Breakfast” will be held June 27 at 7:30 a.m. at the Russell Farm Art Center.
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City council will meet Monday at 3 p.m. at City Hall. Among the agenda items are the swearing in of Adam Russell, city council Place 6, accepting the resignation of Jimmy Sanford, city council Place 3, acknowledging the 2023 Burleson Character Council recipients, a report and discussion on the General Fund and General Debt Service Fund Financial Overview and more.
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Meet Tommy Ludwig, Burleson’s interim city manager
The city manager acts as the president and CEO of the city. I’d consider that a pretty important role. Burleson doesn’t have one of those right now.
What Burleson does have is an interim city manager filling the duties of the city manager and deputy city manager.
Former deputy city manager of Burleson Tommy Ludwig became interim city manager May 19 when former city manager Bryan Langley left to become city manager of Kyle, Texas.
While Ludwig is happy and honored to serve Burleson in the interim capacity, the ultimate goal in the city-management field is to be city manager, Ludwig said.
Whether Ludwig is named official city manager is up to city council, who he said he works very closely with.
“As interim city manager, I’ve got seven bosses,” Ludwig said of city council.
Ludwig enjoys working with city council because he believes having so many different perspectives working together makes for a better work environment, Ludwig said.
One of the council members Ludwig works closely with is Dan McClendon, Place 5 and mayor pro-tem. McClendon described Ludwig as a skilled professional who’s warm, empathetic, engaging and the kind of person you can be friends with.
“What I really like about Tommy is I feel like Tommy could be part of the community,” McClendon said.
Ludwig does indeed want to be part of the community. Stability is incredibly important to him, and he’s not looking to constantly move his family.
One of the things Ludwig has learned about Burleson since he started working for the city in 2021 is that people who move to Burleson tend to stay for a long time, Ludwig said. He’d be one of those people if he were named city manager.
“The people that are here that I’ve interacted with are very engaged, are very welcoming,” Ludwig said. “It’s a really fun place that’s proud of its history and also where they’re going.”
To prove to city council he deserves to be named city manager, Ludwig plans to do what he’s done as deputy city manager, which is put himself into everything he does and deliver quality customer service to serve the community well, Ludwig said.
Even without his experience at Burleson, Ludwig would still be a qualified candidate for city manager, McClendon said.
“If Tommy’s resume were submitted by a person we didn’t know anything about, he would qualify,” McClendon said.
Ludwig’s resume includes experience in city management for 10 years in Dallas and four years in Waxahachie. That experience has made Ludwig a “wealth of knowledge,” said Justin Scharnhorst, Burleson assistant to the city manager.
“He’s very knowledgeable about our industry,” Scharnhosrt said. “Through his past work experience, he’s brought a lot of knowledge to the city.”
Ludwig got into city management to pursue a career in government and serving his community.
“I think it goes back to just wanting to be able to make the community you live in better, to be in a position where you have a meaningful job that you’re trying to make the place you live a little bit better and hopefully leave the place you were at better than how you found it,” Ludwig said.
While Ludwig always knew he wanted to work in government, he didn’t know what capacity he’d do it in. He got his first opportunity to work in city management in an executive training position in the Dallas city manager’s office, and he fell in love with the job.
“It wasn’t suddenly something I just kind of fell into because I knew I always wanted to work in government,” Ludwig said. “I knew I always wanted to be in the service industry. I just didn’t know if it was going to be at the municipal level. I really just had a passion for it. I enjoyed it a lot, and I never even looked back.”
As interim city manager now, Ludwig is faced with the task of helping city council set the budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, a task Ludwig and McClendon see as critical. Two focus points of the budget are public safety and infrastructure, Ludwig said.
Ludwig has an advantage as he handles the critical budgeting process: he’s been working on it for several months as deputy city manager. Ludwig’s time as deputy city manager, particularly his working alongside Langley, is important to McClendon. Langley was the best city manager Burleson’s had in McClendon’s 16 years on city council, and he thought highly of Ludwig, McClendon said.
“He’s a familiar face and part of something that’s already working well,” McClendon said.
McClendon said he’d like to name a city manager within three months. Until then, Ludwig is honored to serve in the interim capacity.
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What do you hope to see from Tommy Ludwig as he tries to prove he deserves to be city manager?