Megan McGowen Crouch started her career in city government over 21 years ago — in 1997, as an intern in community planning — and now, she is taking on the position of Assistant City Manager.
“I applied for an intern scholarship through the State American Planning Association Chapter that helped fund half the intern salary, and the City paid the other half,” Crouch said. “I started interning in June of 1997 and then finished my undergraduate degree in December of 1997 and was hired on as a full-time planner.”
In the time Crouch has worked with the City, she has worked a wide variety of jobs, giving her a broad skill set to help her prepare for her new position.
“Today, a lot of people don’t usually stay in one place their whole career, and that is somewhat unusual, but Auburn is a very dynamic growing city,” Crouch said. “And I have had a lot of opportunities to take on more responsibility and try new things.”
Crouch has a strong background in economic development, working in industrial recruitment and commercial development in her years at Auburn. She has also worked closely with development departments to formulate and implement plans such as the Renew Opelika Road and Downtown Master Plan.
“I think to be ready for the assistant city manager position you have to know a little bit about a lot of things,” Crouch said. “In my tenure with the City, one of the advantages in being long-tenured with the city is I’ve worked with many departments that all play a key role in economic development and learned a bit about what they do.”
Crouch said she believes in cross-training city employees from different departments to help them understand how the departments operate with each other.
“We actually have something called city academy now that formally does that for staff members who are interested in applying,” Crouch said. “I think to prepare for this role you need to have an idea about what the other departments are doing and why they do it.”
The experience and insight Crouch gained by working with multiple departments is one of the reasons she was picked for the position, as she now oversees several different departments and the projects each is working on.
Crouch said she is working on leaving the direct planning to the other department heads and focusing on overseeing all the projects as a collective whole. Crouch also said the process is made easier by the fact that she has worked with the same people for several years, so she trusts that they will do what they need to do.
“I’ve stayed because this is a very well-managed, well-organized City and it has been joyful to work here,” Crouch said. “I’ve enjoyed my time here because I’ve been challenged every day, and I’ve learned and grown, and my position has grown with me.”
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