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Tom Kennedy

Tom Kennedy

Rainbow Municipal Water District (RMWD)

Fallbrook, CA USA

"Make something better than it was when you started at the job."

Career Roadmap

Tom's work combines: Government, Politics, and Problem Solving

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Day In The Life

General Manager at a Municipal Water District

I oversee all aspects of water and wastewater service delivery in our service area.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    St. Don Bosco Technical Institute

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering


  • Graduate Degree

    Public Administration


Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be a General Manager at a Municipal Water District:

Bachelor's Degree: Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering

Graduate Degree: Public Administration

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life took a while to figure out

  • 1.

    First, I grew up in a large family so it helped a lot with gaining a chaotic tolerance, which helped later in life with management and juggling life.

  • 2.

    I finished high school in 3 years and headed off to college at age 17 to learn how to build rockets.

  • 3.

    After my undergrad studies, it took nearly 3 years to find a really good job due to the lack of jobs in my field. Once I got one, I worked hard and began getting regular promotions.

  • 4.

    Then I met the woman who became my wife, who instilled confidence in me that I could do even more—that is when I enrolled in graduate school for my MPA.

  • 5.

    I spent over 5 years taking MPA classes one per semester while working and starting a family.

  • 6.

    As upward mobility at one agency was looking less favorable, I sought out new opportunities. I also wanted to get out of the LA area, as I did not want to raise my kids there.

  • 7.

    I left a great public sector job to help start up a new tech-related business for a few years. It was a gamble, but I learned a lot. I actually got hired back by the agency I had left!

  • 8.

    When a GM job at a poorly-regarded agency came open, I knew I could turn it around, so I took the leap and by all accounts have accomplished my mission.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Myself:

    I worked through the ranks for a long time and how misplaced priorities can destroy an organization and especially how to help elected officials understand what is actually possible for the team to achieve.

  • How I responded:

    I tried my best to keep an open mind, work collaboratively with others (even if you disagree on some things) and especially to not burn bridges. I use my now extensive network to draw support or ideas on how to achieve goals.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • I've overcome challenges like financial.

  • When I finished my BSAE, the aerospace industry was collapsing. I had to pivot to a new line of work, but drew upon my engineering background and applied it in different ways. I then sought out experienced people to learn from.