Meet the Candidates: Bill Watkins

Thursday, November 10, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:43 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008


He is 52, married and has two daughters, ages 28 and 26, and a son, 23. Another son died in 2004.

Professional experience

Currently serves as one of Columbia’s assistant city managers and has held the position since December 1995. He served as Columbia’s director of economic development and executive vice president of Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc. from July 1988 to December 1995; vice president of the economic development division of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce in Springfield, Ohio, from October 1985 to July 1988; city manager of Wood River, Ill., from October 1984 to July 1985; and city manager of Newton Falls, Ohio, from April 1977 to October 1984.


Received a master’s degree in public administration in 1976 and a bachelor’s degree in public administration in 1974, both from MU.

Other information

He serves on the Board of Education for Columbia Catholic School and the board of directors for Advent Enterprises. He is also a member of the Rotary Club and a member of the Knights of Columbus.


What challenges have you faced in your city that have prepared you for the Columbia job?


“I think I’ve tackled a number of issues, particularly organizationally. Every community is unique in how they solve problems. Columbia is unique with the university, with media coverage, and I think I’ve learned to work reasonably well within those parameters.”


What attracts you to Columbia?


“I came back to Columbia with the idea of someday perhaps being the city manager. This would be the culmination of a 35-year career.”


What is your greatest accomplishment in city government?


“I think I have the skills and ability to pull people together, to solve problems and to implement solutions. Two recent examples exemplify this. One, the annexation of the county property involved working with the regional sewer district as well as the county. Second, the Grindstone sewer master agreement with the regional sewer service and the county.”

— Matt Graham and Kristin Markway

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