Basic Management Skills

Public Employees Leadership Institute
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1. The art of management
2. Creating action plan
3. Organizational structures – cities
4. Organizational structures – counties
5. Understanding line-staff roles/relationships
6. Information and records management
7. Time management

The substance of management is working with people. The skills covered in this section are the responsibilities of a manager. Having the skills necessary to plan, organize, staff, direct, coordinate and report on the activities of a public works department, which will be discussed here, does not assure that one can motivate and get the most from your employees. Those human interaction skills that can make a good manager great are covered in the Team Development module.

Management in this module will include planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating and reporting the activities. Each area will provide a basic introduction of the topic. Public works managers are faced with a multitude of tasks; the complexity of these tasks and the limited resources available require the skilled management of their resources.

At the completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Understand basic management skills
  • Discern the difference between city, county, and state level organizational structures
  • Create action plans for their agency
  • Recognize the different roles of line and staff managers
  • Keep records that are useful, up-to-date, and readily available
  • Apply time management techniques to their own busy schedules

Dallas County Engineer (retired 2015)

Graduate of both Iowa State University and the University of the Wisconsin
Licensed land surveyor in Iowa

Jim George graduated from both Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin. He worked for fifteen years with consultants before becoming involved with county road departments, for more than twenty years. He began his public career in Polk County as an Assistant County Engineer, then was appointed as the County engineer in Des Moines County and after that, the Dallas County Engineer.

Jim served on numerous Iowa County Engineers Association committees, has been a president of that organization and a member of NACE. Jim is now retired.

Professional affiliations
Serves on numerous Iowa County Engineers Association (ICEA) committees
Past president of ICEA
Member of NACE

Other Institute course(s)

Formerly Marion County Engineer

Roger Schletzbaum was the Marion County Engineer for many years until his retirement in 2014. Prior to becoming the Marion County Engineer, Roger served 13 years on the City of Des Moines Engineering Staff and seven years at the state level with the Iowa D.N.R.

Roger has managed several award winning projects and was named Government Civil Engineer of the Year in 2008 by the Iowa Section of ASCE.

Roger is a member of the Iowa and National County Engineers Associations, the American Public Works Association, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Professional affiliations
Member of the Iowa County Engineers Association
Member of the National County Engineers Association
Member of the American Public works Association
Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers
Named Government Civil Engineer of the Year in 2008 by the Iowa Section of ASCE

Other Institute course(s)
Fundamentals of Government

Retired Associate Director of Outreach for the Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University

BS in Civil Engineering; Iowa State University
MS in Transportation Engineering; Iowa State University

Duane Smith received his BS in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University and later his MS in Transportation Engineering, also from Iowa State University.

His career began with the Iowa Department of Transportation in the construction field, where he served in many capacities for the first fifteen years. He then yielded to the call from the western US and worked as a Transportation Engineer for a Denver, Colorado consultant firm. Following a few years of that experience, he returned to the Iowa DOT.

He served Iowa State University for 15 years in the capacities of: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering/Associate Director for Outreach Program and as the Local Technical Assistance Program, (LTAP), Director for the Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE). This center became the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) before his retirement in 2009.

Other Institute course(s)
Effective Communication Skills

Program Manager; Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University (retired)

Bob Sperry was the Program Manager at the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa from 2008 to 2014, when he retired. He was formerly a County Engineer in three different Iowa counties for more than 30 years. His efforts with InTrans included serving as a “Local Roads Safety Liaison” which involved direct interactions with local/municipal public works agencies to make them aware of the many safety tools, software and training programs as well as funding opportunities available to them from various sources including the Iowa Department of Transportation and InTrans.

In addition to his efforts on safety outreach and education activities, Bob also assisted in several other research projects that involved state and local governments.

Other Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding
Resource Management Skills

Adjunct Professor; Iowa State University

MS in Guidance and Counseling; Iowa State University
PhD in Education; Iowa State University

Sharon Drake is an educator, professional trainer and trained mediator. Her entire professional career has surrounded these three disciplines. She has worked with the Cooperative Extensive Service in Iowa and Minnesota. She has taught management courses for Simpson College and Iowa State University. As the Director of Training and Development at Iowa State University, she developed and delivered a supervisory leadership program for faculty and staff. Additional training courses focused on communication, leadership and professional and personal skill development. As a adjunct professor, she is currently providing on-line courses for Iowa State University and directing a community college leadership program for Iowa’s community colleges.

Sharon is a trained mediator in school truancy, victim/offender, divorce and child custody, and workplace employee/employee issues. She has been a volunteer mediator and has more than 25 years of experience. She has successfully mediated group workplace issues as well as divorce and truancy. She possesses a MS in Guidance and Counseling and a PhD in Education from Iowa State University.


“The Basic Management Skills course was very informative. I have three new staff supervisors that have moved up from line supervisors. I believe this course is an excellent way to transition them from line to staff and can help them better understand the changes in their responsibilities.” —DiAnna Rawleigh, Public Works Manager, Pasco County, FL