By Matthew Pahl
Hank Hsing took a unique path to become a City/County Management Fellow.
Originally from the Chicago area, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While Hsing was offered positions from several prominent private companies after graduation, he made the decision to work for the Department of Public Works with the County of Los Angeles.
“I had to decide between making a high salary and doing work I felt would be most rewarding to my community and myself,” Hsing said. “To the amazement of many friends and family, I decided to accept the Los Angeles County offer because I wanted a job I could be proud of and make the greatest impact on people’s lives.”
Hsing worked for L.A. County for four years before attending USC for his master’s of public administration and becoming a Fellow.
In the four years before beginning USC, Hank studied and passed the licensing exams for civil engineering (PE) and traffic engineering (TE). However, he wanted to learn and apply more management competencies and skills in his daily work. He decided to pursue an MPA degree at USC to help him better serve the public and become a leader in his community.
Hsing used a combination of his full-time work experience, knowledge gained in MPA classes, and resources only available through the City/County Management Fellowship to improve his skills and take on a larger role at Department of Public Works.
“As a full-time working professional and full-time student, it has been fascinating to interact with local government leaders and discuss the many different perspectives on a given issue,” he explained. “For example, at the City/County Fellow meetings, we discussed real-life situations and solutions that centered on local government. The topics were informative, educational, and intellectual, which really furthered my development into a better leader.”
The leadership skills Hsing developed are serving him well at LA County. He is currently the project manager of the Pomona Valley Intelligent Transportation System and San Gabriel Valley Traffic Signal Synchronization Program, which involves 31 cities.
In this role, he oversees the design and implementation of Advanced Traffic Management Systems and manages Traffic Signal Synchronization Projects through regular interactions with city administrators, engineers and consultants in his work.
According to Hsing, “In time, I envision myself serving as a government administrator, possibly as an executive director, who will play a key role in solving Southern California’s traffic congestion problems.”
As a member of the Trojan Family and a City/County Management Fellow, Hank believes he has the tools to achieve his goals.
“The MPA program and City/County Management Fellowship at USC is phenomenal in preparing students for leadership roles,” he said. “The professors, staff, and alumni are friendly, experienced, and knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend the program to students who are interested in learning how local government works, developing their communication and managerial skills, and fostering crucial networking relationships with government leaders.”