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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Meet Our Fellows: Erik Bergrud ('13)

Erik Bergrud is the current Associate Vice President for University Engagement at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. In this position, Erik leads an eleven-member team responsible for alumni relations, career development, communications and public relations, government relations and special events. Erik is also the former President of the American Society for Public Administration after holding the positions of Director of Chapter and Section Relations, Director of Information Services, Senior for e-Organization Development, and Senior Director of Program and Service Development. In addition to these roles, Erik Bergrud serves as chair of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Membership Committee and as a member of the Board of Directors of the ASPA Endowment. He volunteers his time as play-by-play announcer for the Park University women’s and men’s soccer teams and as public address announcer for the KC Courage of the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

The Academy recently heard from Erik himself:

  1. What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

At Park University, we serve a number of first-generation students as well as those in uniform who serve our country. I go to work every day knowing that I am changing the lives of these students, their families and the communities in which they live and work.

  1. How did you get involved in public service and what motivates you to continue your work?

Early in my career, I served as administrator of an MPA program which later led me to accepting a position with the American Society for Public Administration. Service to others above self continues to motivate me today.

  1. What advice would you give someone entering the Public Administration field?

Focus attention on your personal and professional development. Get involved right away in professional associations. Attend lectures and workshops in your community. Network not only within public administration circles but also across other disciplines and interests.

  1. Looking at the present and into the future, what do you think a public administration “Grand Challenge” is or might be?

I believe that AI is so complex a challenge for governments, we have yet to fathom how to leverage it, let alone regulate it. Just the ethical and social justice ramifications merit significant consideration.

  1. Reflecting on your career, is there a highlight, a greatest accomplishment or a funny story you’d like to share?

Well, there was the time I jumped off the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas to raise money for an ASPA scholarship fund. You can still access the video on YouTube.

And now on to a few fun questions…

  1. If you could make a soundtrack to your life what is one song that would need to be on your playlist?

Ac-Cent-Thu-Ate the Positive (written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer)

  1. What was your first job?

I was a youth soccer referee throughout high school. I had to learn how to develop a thick skin in public at a relatively young age.

  1. What is your favorite time of the year and why?

Working on a university campus, I absolutely love the fall when the trees start to change color and the days and nights start to get cooler.

  1. What is the best part about where you live?

Kansas City offers a great quality of life with access to world-class cultural amenities. The civic pride here is so widespread that you can see individuals wearing KC T-shirts all across the city.

  1. What is your pizza order?

Is there a way to answer this question without offending anyone? I’ll pick a Neapolitan style pizza with chicken, mushrooms and garlic.

  1. If you could have a dinner party with anyone in history, who would you have dinner with and why?

I would invite Billie Holliday, Jose Andres and Mark Twain – the music, food and stories would be covered!

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