Local Hero
 Coffee Break

7 episodes

In this podcast, Michael Mazur brings you the stories of local heroes who are working to improve the lives of citizens in their communities. These interviews aim to give listeners a digestible dose of information about how other local leaders are responding to key challenges. The format is designed to showcase the amazing work of local government officials, learn about their perspectives and plans, and provide inspiration for those who want to take action in their communities.

Hosted by Michael Mazur, COO of Colu.
Listen on Spotify
  • episode 7 · Sep 29, 2022
    City of Akron, Julie Pryseski Beckert | Hosting one of the top Pride events in the Midwest
    Julie spent many years as an entrepreneur before joining the City of Akron. Since 2015, Julie Pryseski has worked for the Office of Economic Development for the City of Akron. Julie’s focus is on all aspects of growing and maintaining businesses throughout the City. Julie is also the City liaison to many of the neighborhood business districts and downtown retail businesses. Prior to joining the City, Julie had extensive experience in special event coordinating, sales and marketing. Julie participated in the planning and implementation of multiple community events including, Akron Flair Fest, Gay Games 9, Akron Square Fest, Akron Arts Expo, Open Streets and the Inaugural Akron Pride Festival. Julie is a graduate of the University of Akron and a proud lifelong resident of Summit County.
  • episode 6 · Sep 14, 2022
    City of Aurora, IL, Michael Pegues | How executing fast boosted participation in council meetings
    William Blake's quote that “Execution is the chariot of genius” is one of Michael Peuges' favorites -- this mindset has enabled Michael to lead Aurora to be one of the most innovative cities in the United States. Michael Pegues, a relative newcomer to government, is the CIO of the second largest city in Illinois. Despite only being in the job for a handful of years and having no background in local government, he is constantly on the top lists of Government CIOs and smart cities initiatives. Michael developed a passion for city work and has become an urban tech champion, leading the city of Aurora to be a leading smart city on a national and global scale.
  • episode 5 · Sep 6, 2022
    City of Peachtree Corners, Brandon Branham | Leading a city from incorporation to innovation
    In our discussion, Brandon mentioned to me that from his perspective: "our main goal is always to say yes." This mindset has helped Brandon lead the City of Peachtree Corners to the global scale of top smart cities and catalyze innovation to help make our communities better. Oh, and the city was just incorporated in 2012! Brandon Branham is both the Chief Technology Officer and Assistant City Manager in the City of Peachtree Corners, where he’s worked for the past almost 10 years. Brandon leads the City of Peachtree Corners’ groundbreaking smart city and IoT programs. Overseeing one of the first real-world smart city ecosystems deployed in the United States, Brandon is bringing the region to the forefront in the development of next-generation IoT technologies that will change the face of business and society in the near future – both within the country and across the world.
  • episode 4 · Sep 6, 2022
    Saline County, Phillip Smith-Hanes | The first step towards creating equity is getting data
    Steve Jobs' quote "You can't connect the dots looking forward", is one of Phil Smith-Hanes's favorites and one of the mottos he's operated by in his 25+ years working in local government. Phil has been the County Administrator in Saline County, Kansas since 2019 and has been a forward-thinking government leader with a commitment to advancing DEI work and much more. Phil is a true local hero with over 25 years of experience working in local governments in California and Kansas. Listen to learn about: - How Saline County now has to focus on spending dollars and not only saving dollars due to the new influx of federal funds such as the CARES Act and ARPA - Lessons learned from the CARES Act and how it impacted the County's work with ARPA funds - Steps government officials can take to increase equity in their jurisdiction - Saline County's current projects and priorities - Tips for recent college graduates starting a job in local government or looking to start a job in local government.
  • episode 3 · Aug 19, 2022
    City of Monterey Park, Joe Torres | From Flying Planes to running a city
    Before working in local government, Joseph Torres had a thriving career in the private sector as a pilot, as well as working in Corporate Sales in American Airlines for close to 16 years. Joseph realized, once starting to work at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and later in the City of Monterey Park, that he has an amazing opportunity to help boost economic recovery, resiliency, and so much more. Join to learn about: 1. Tips to make the transition from the private sector to the public sector 2. The relationship between some of the challenges thought in MBA programs vs. the challenges that local government officials face 3. Why officials need to know how to sell 4. How coming from a political background inspired Joseph to make the transition to public service 5. How the City of Monterey Park is responding to the economic downturn
  • episode 2 · Aug 10, 2022
    City of Rancho Cordova, Micah Runner | Running a city with an entrepreneurial spirit
    “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- is Micah Runner's favorite quote, and in this episode, you get to understand why Gandhi's words resonate with him. Micah is currently the Deputy City Manager in Rancho Cordova. His impressive career in government started even before Micah started working (hint: both of his parents served had amazing careers as politicians and his father was the Mayor of Lancaster, CA). Find out how and so much more about his journey as a local hero throughout different communities he's been a part of.
  • episode 1 · Aug 9, 2022
    Why a podcast on local heroes?
    We introduce the co-hosts of the Local Hero Coffee Break podcast, Amada Reyes and Michael Mazur, and talk more about why we're doing this and our story. The goals of the podcast are to: (1) Give listeners a digestible dose of information about how other local leaders are responding to key challenges. (2) Create more awareness about the heroes who are working day and night to make their citizens' lives better. (3) Inspire others to take action in their communities