- Tech Insights
Richard Derrick serves as the City Manager and Chief Executive Officer for the City of Henderson, Nevada, where he oversees a value-based organization that implements City Council prioritized short and long-term strategies to accomplish the City's mission and vision.
“Being the City's CEO amid a pandemic and helping to keep my residents safe while leading our organization was not easy,” noted CEO Richard Derrick. “The pandemic impacted our community's health, economy, and quality of life. These challenges pushed me to grow and incorporate the lessons I learned from my amazing mentors.” Though the pandemic disrupted many small firms, they were assisted with emergency funds provided through Henderson’s Small Business Recovery Grant program. More than $2.2 million was given to 426 small companies affected by the pandemic shutdown and local firms were provided with unparalleled access to free workforce services.
Richard’s success as CEO was aided by a healthy work-life balance, a passion for his job, and an openness to the needs of others. In addition, motivation, ethics, collaboration, and quality are critical factors that have helped his team succeed and reach elite status. The City’s culture is represented in its actions, reinforced by its team members, and by the organization’s efforts to enhance the community.
The Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) recently honored Richard with its 2021 Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah for outstanding leadership in pursuit of performance excellence and improvement. Moreover, Derrick noted that “The City of Henderson was awarded SWAE’s highest honor, the coveted Pinnacle Award that acknowledges Henderson as a model for other similarly sized cities.”
SWAE uses the Baldrige Criteria to assess organizations and provide feedback that tells them what their strengths are and what they need to improve. By participating in this application process, Henderson is pursuing performance excellence, improving outcomes and contributing to the economic strength of our community and state.
Henderson is continuing to set the standard for City services, a fact that was echoed by local businesses when they were surveyed in 2021 by the ETC Institute. Results of the survey show local businesses have a very positive perception of the City, with nearly 95 percent saying the City is business-friendly and 89 percent giving Henderson high ratings as a place to do business. Moreover, the City rated significantly higher than the U.S. average in most areas that were assessed and satisfaction with the overall quality of City services was 23 percent above the U.S. average.
Attracting new businesses is another vital area for Henderson. The City’s executive management team developed a strong partnership with the Raiders, who selected Henderson as their new home - creating 250 jobs and community involvement. Henderson also formed a public-private partnership with the iconic Vegas Golden Knights to build Lifeguard Arena, a modern community ice rink and public recreation facility. And they are the new home of the Henderson Silver Knights, a new American Hockey League franchise. Henderson was able to attract these storied sports franchises due to the same pro-business environment that helped Google, Haas Automation and Amazon select Henderson as their new home.
High quality education is a strategic priority in Henderson, and the City supports a myriad of initiatives and programs that ensures its students receive an education that is second to none. This includes enhancing the number of high-quality Pre-K seats, set aside funds that provide tutoring and STEM programs as well as support of the mental help initiative Hope Squad for middle and high school students. The City is also partnering with several educational institutions and local organizations to ensure its students receive a quality education to increase the pool of trained employees and support the growth of business in the City. This includes partnerships in the following initiatives:
- College of Southern Nevada’s $58 Million Health Science Building – Will double number of graduates in nursing, certified nursing assistants, medical office assistants, phlebotomists, lab scientists and technologists.
- Nevada State College $61.9 School of Education Building- designed to have a positive impact on the teacher shortage in the valley.
- Workforce Training Center – Developing Henderson’s advanced manufacturing skilled workforce in partnership with Nevada State College, College of Southern Nevada and Haas Automation.
- Clark County School District – Working with the City to prepare Henderson students for future workforce.
The annual community survey of Henderson’s residents consistently rates public safety as one of the top issues for residents and the City is proud to be ranked the second-safest large city in America, again. The Henderson Police Department (HPD) is at the forefront of these efforts, as evidenced by their crime lab that is one of only three accredited public-funded forensic laboratories in Nevada providing multi-jurisdictional support with evidence analysis. And plans are in the works for a new state-of-the-art crime lab and evidence vault to keep them at the forefront of innovation for the region. In addition, the department broke ground on its new West Henderson Substation that will house a high-tech communications center and the HPD Academy.
Henderson Fire is also meeting the challenge of keeping the growing population safe. Since 2017, the City has added three fire stations, including the newest station at the Cadence master-planned community that will begin safeguarding the community this fall. Moreover, Henderson Fire continues to be in the top 0.5 percent in the nation and was recently recognized with the American Heart Association “Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Achievement Award” for the third year in a row.
The City builds and manages community relationships by listening to and acting on community feedback and by providing high quality services and customer support that enhance their quality of life. To enhance safety, the City of Henderson initiated a $140 million project that will institute a major redesign of the Boulder Highway corridor. Known as the Reimagine Boulder Highway Project, improvements to the corridor will include reduction of lanes, dedicated bus lanes, upgraded lighting and pedestrian walkways.
The City of Henderson also is actively pursuing technological enhancements through its Smart Cities initiative that strategically integrates technology to improve the quality of life in the community by focusing on Citizen Services, Public Safety, Education, and Transportation. In addition, the City’s partnership with Cox Communications on a variety of technology initiatives has established downtown Henderson as Smart City Innovation District, where they have pilot tests that focus on Smart Lighting, Smart Water Meters, Smart Parking, Smart Analytics and Smart Signage.
Henderson is proud of its reputation for outstanding customer service, along with its 94 percent overall citizen satisfaction rate and its 90 percent employee engagement rate. To provide the best service possible, they have to know what matters most to their customers and how they can most efficiently respond to those needs. That’s why the City of Henderson made the commitment to focus on the transformation of its approach to customer service through a combination of new programs, policies and employee training that will help to serve our diverse set of customers better, including providing our customers with concierge service that uses a team approach to meet their needs.
As the largest full-service city in the state providing all essential public service, Henderson continues to embrace its values and mission to be America’s Premier Community. This level of excellence and professionalism continues to distinguish it from other municipalities with an ever-increasing number of awards and recognition from a wide array of noted organizations. From a Municipal Equity Index perfect Scorecard of 100, to APA Awards for the Water Street Plaza and their COVID-19 Outreach, to having one of the 100 Best Fleets, Henderson is clearly leading the way among city governments across the U.S. IE
City Manager & CEO
City of Henderson
The City of Henderson, America’s premier community, is located in sunny Southern Nevada along the southeastern portion of Clark County between Las Vegas and Lake Mead. Home to approximately 275,000 residents, it is the largest full-service city and second-largest city in Nevada.