Written by The Business Journal Staff
What we do: Kerman is a city located on the west side of Fresno County with a population of approximately 14,000 people.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in public administration from Fresno State, graduated from Parlier High School.
Family: Five sisters and three brothers, mother lives in Parlier and father passed away in 1994.
As a city, what does Kerman provide, Luis?
We are full-service city. We provide police services, all the typical municipal services — wastewater treatment, water distribution, street maintenance, park maintenance, as well as a host of recreational programs for the residents of Kerman.
How did you first get involved in public administration, Luis?
Both my brother and my sister were actively involved in the community — she was on the school board in the ‘70s and my brother was on the city council. I got interested in public service through them, so one of the career choices when I entered college was a degree in public administration and I gravitated toward that field. I have worked in the field ever since I graduated college. It’s kind of something my siblings steered me toward.
What other positions in public administration have you held, Luis?
I started off as the housing specialist for the city of Sanger. From there, I moved up to the deputy director of the Sanger Redevelopment Agency. From there I was promoted to executive director of the Sanger Redevelopment Agency. I was then appointed the director of development services. I served as the interim city manager of the city of Sanger for about a year, worked in the private sector for about three years and was recently hired by the city of Kerman as the director of planning and development. Then about three months ago I was hired as the new city manager.
What would you say is your vision for Kerman, Luis?
My vision for Kerman is pretty simple — to continue to build upon a solid foundation that the previous city manager left, as well as the city council. Kerman is a pretty well managed community and is in pretty good financial condition from strong fiscal management. I would like to continue that and build upon that during my tenure as city manager.
What is it that your predecessors have done to keep Kerman so well managed, Luis?
I think they lived within their means and they didn’t overextend themselves. They maintained the proper level of service and the proper level of personnel by not overextending themselves in regards to hiring and staff or commit themselves to long-term expenses without having the revenue source to cover those expenses.
What was your first job growing up and what did you learn from it, Luis?
My first job growing up was working with my family harvesting crops, particularly grapes and tree fruit. Clearly what I learned from that experience was it’s hard work and my dad once asked me if I liked this kind of a work as a young man. I told him, “It’s providing a living and it’s hard work, but it’s not something I would like to do for the rest of my life.” So he told me, “Then you need to go to school, need to get an education and a profession.” So what I think I learned from that is you have to understand every job is important, but necessarily the job you have to stick with. You have to choose something that you want to do and something that you really enjoy doing. Look for that one thing you enjoy and pursue it and you will be a much better person if you do that.