OVILLA — The Army helped to prepare John Dean for his next chapter of public service as the new Ovilla city manager. He replaces Dennis Burn who left the city at the end of May.
“In 1997 we did a mission in Bosnia where we were the liaisons between the local governments and the military command. So I got to sit down and talk about issues of local government and figure out how we could address those issues through the military command,” Dean said. “So that really sparked my interest because what I saw was there were decisions that were being made on a daily basis that affected the people whether they knew it or not to make life better for them.”
During his time in the military Dean served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He served in the 82nd Airborne for five years and spent 15 years in Special Forces as a Green Beret. Dean retired from the Army in 2004 as sergeant first class after 20 years.
Dean continued stating, “When I left that mission (in Bosnia) I told my wife my I wanted to become a city manager one day. I told her that I wanted to be the city manager of Broken Bow because that is where she and I grew up,” Dean noted. “About 10 years later I was the city manager of Broken Bow. It is pretty funny how that all worked out.”
After serving in Broken Bow for four years Dean worked as the assistant city manager for El Reno, Okla, which is a city of 17,000 people, and for later as the city manager of Pilot Point. Before working for Broken Bow, Dean served as the Food Safety Coordinator and later the Human Resources Supervisor for Tyson Foods.
Dean stated that he sees a lot of opportunities for the Ovilla to grow in the future.
“The potential for adding more development is huge. I think that it is a great location. I don’t think that you will see us have industry. I do think you will see commercial development on Ovilla Road,” Dean remarked. “I think that there will be a push to do some development in downtown. There is not a lot of property in the downtown area, but I do think that there will be some type of push to see some development.”
Dean said Ovilla is a bedroom community and has been for a long time. The feeling the Dean has gotten from residents is that they want to keep Ovilla as a close-knit place to live. He added that he going keep that feeling while balancing development.
Dean stated that as city manager he hopes to use his experience and knowledge to make the city a better place for residents and visitors. One of his goals is to make operations run a little smoother for city employees, people who do business with the city and residents.
“I hope to be able to make our processes more efficient. You know some of the things, for example, we use Quick Books for our major accounting software, we use a system for our utility billing and we use another system for the court system. I want to get us on a system where it talks to each other,” Dean said. “Things that people don’t necessarily see but make us a better origination in the end. That is an immediate need that I think that we need to address.”