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City Manager in Residence Program

The Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership introduced the City Manager in Residence Program in 2011, as part of a collaborative effort developed by the California International City Manager Association (Cal-ICMA) to offer students in graduate public policy and public administration programs the opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the best city managers in California.

The city managers in residence share their experiences with the school's Master of Public Policy candidates over a course of two days on the Malibu campus. In addition to a formal lecture, they serve as a mentor to students specializing in state and local policy, offering career advice and answering questions; address classes in the state and local policy track; and meet with members of the school's student chapter of the International City/County Manager's Association (ICMA).


Past SPP City Managers in Residence


Frank Benest

Frank Benest

Frank Benest is the former City Manager of Palo Alto, California. He is a noted consultant and trainer on rightsizing public organizations, entrepreneurial government, civic engagement, leadership development and succession planning.

Kurt Wilson

Kurt Wilson - Pepperdine University

Kurt Wilson is the city manager for the City of Stockton, California. He arrived in Stockton shortly after the city had declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy and led Stockton through the final stages of that process and turning the city around. In 2015, Stockton was named an All American City.

Dave Childs

David Childs - Pepperdine University

Dave Childs is the city manager for the City of Palmdale, California and previously served as assistant county manager for Washoe County, Nevada; as the Wester U.S. director of ICMA; as city manager of the cities of Blue Earth, St. Anthony, New Brighton, and Minnetonka, Minnesota, and the City of South Lake Tahoe in California. He also has experience in regional planning in Minnesota and Arizona.

Magda Gonzales

Magda Gonzales - Pepperdine University

Magda Gonzales is the city manager for the City of Half Moon Bay, California and previously served as city manager of East Palo Alto, California. She also has extensive non-profit and community experience, including as a trustee for the Redwood City Elementary School District.

Tim O'Donnell

Tim O'Donnell - Pepperdine University

Tim O'Donnell is the city manager for the City of Brea, California and has been active in municipal government for over 34 years. In addition to serving as City Manager and Assistant City Manager of Brea, he has held various positions for the California cities of Signal Hill, Garden Grove, and Bellflower.

Ken Hampian

Ken Hampian - Pepperdine University

Ken Hampian is former city manager of San Luis Obispo, California, where he served in that position for nine years. Most recently, Hampian was appointed interim city manager for the troubled city of Bell.

Rod Gould

Rod Gould - Pepperdine University

Rod Gould recently retired as city manager of Santa Monica, California. Previously he served as city manager in the California cities of Poway, San Rafael, and Monrovia, as well as assistant city manager of Walnut Creek, CA.