Monthly Archives: November 2011

Certified Public Manager: Professional Development That Pays Dividends

One perennial need in public sector organizations is training that helps staff transition from a role of technical expertise—water quality inspector or budget analyst, for example—to a role requiring managerial and supervisory skills. Our Certified Public Manager® (CPM) program is designed to address skill gaps for new and experienced managers to help make sure they have the tools to perform at the best of their game and contribute to staff engagement.

CPM is a nationally-accredited management program and certification in which participants develop and strengthen their management skills through a competency-based curriculum.

The Kansas CPM program is offered on a calendar-year schedule and uses a blended learning approach of classroom hours, online learning, and outside assignments. Along the way, participants complete a capstone project focused on an opportunity for cost savings, revenue generation, process improvement or innovation in their workplace. Over 1,200 people have completed the Kansas program since 1993.

Agamani Sen, Chief Design Engineer for Douglas County, Kans. Public Works (left), participated in CPM in 2010. Her capstone explored how to increase the number of internal design-build projects in Public Works by applying staff expertise in culvert design and installation to some of the County’s smaller bridge projects; she determined that for every bridge that is able to be completed as an internal design-build instead of by consultants and contractors, there is the potential for approximately $150,000 in savings.

Put another way, the savings from any single bridge replacement completed in-house will pay for either one additional small bridge project or two to three culvert projects. In this era of shrinking revenues, this is a profound benefit to the County.

CPM program director Terri Callahan notes that for agencies to continue finding the resources to send staff to the program in such challenging economic times, “we have to make sure the program offers real benefits to sponsoring departments whether in the form of cost savings, process improvement or innovation via the capstone or in the enhanced skills that make for more effective managers.”

For Agamani Sen and Douglas County Public Works, the benefits were real on both sides. Her capstone was a project that Agamani long suspected could generate savings for the County, and participating in CPM allowed her to carve out the time to research the details and create a plan for implementation. Meanwhile, she found the class content to be extremely useful, with topics such as emotional intelligence and project management offering valuable perspectives on different styles of management and allowing her to gain insight about her own approach.

Beyond this, she says that “meeting people from so many organizations, to get outside of my own world, was inspirational.”

“What is inspiring to me,” says Craig Weinaug (KU MPA 1976), Douglas County Administrator, “is the dedication participating staff show to staying on top of their responsibilities while making the time to get all they can out of the program.”

Craig further notes that “Agamani’s project provides very tangible evidence as to why continuing investment in the education of public employees not only benefits the individual, but also the organization. This investment becomes even more critical when revenues are shrinking, and we have to be as smart as possible in how we spend the remaining tax dollars. We send employees to the CPM program every year, and we have always been very satisfied with the results.”

The Public Management Center is now accepting registrations for the 2012 CPM program which will begin in January with locations in the Kansas City area, Topeka, and Hays.

For more information about the program, visit or contact Terri Callahan at or (785) 296-2353.